NEARLY a year since the devastating Rana Plaza building collapse, our RMG sector remains under the global radar screen of concerned quarters. The EU, North American retailers' alliance and the ILO, among others, have visited our RMG sector to see things at first hand. They underscored the need for radically improving workers' safety standards, workplace environment and their rights situation. Whilst noting a certain uplift in the deficient areas, they laid stress on more to be done in specific areas.
They attach considerable value to our RMG sector's potential to be a bigger player in the US$ 50 billion worth of garments market which again is on an expansion course. The latest to give some sound advice is the UK Minister for International Development Alan Duncan who has been to Dhaka. He made three cogent points: First, Bangladesh should take factory standards to next level meaning that it needs 'clean regulations in setting up and monitoring factories.' Second, he hoped that global clothing brands would 'help Bangladesh improve working conditions in the units.' This can be ensured through good business practices both on the exporting and importing sides. Third, Duncan believes that exporters' claim of having insufficient funds to improve the working conditions is 'untrue'.
Actually, it would take concerted efforts of all stakeholders to give a better, secure and wholesome deal to the workers. There is a precious social commitment involved here when you consider the size of women's employment in and their consequent empowerment through this sector.