• Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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Why will Mr. X not pay the wage and bonus?

LET'S call him 'X'. It was 11 pm. A few days ago, a private television channel was running news on the non-payment of the salary and bonus of the readymade garment workers. The face was a familiar one. In fact, the gentleman, Mr. X, confined to the BGMEA office when speaking to the journalists, was an old friend who had taught me production processes and familiarised me with the trade eighteen years back, when I first joined the industry....


Crucial RMG safety need addressed

ONE of the sticking points for readymade garments (RMG) industry has been the huge cost of installing safety equipment. The issue of worker safety came to the forefront in the immediate aftermath of a number of devastating incidents like the fire at the Tazreen factory that killed scores of people. Workplace safety has also been a major issue of contention between Bangladesh and the various associations of US and EU buyers. Now that we know the government intends to slash...

RMG industry: Post-Rana Plaza

IT is more than one year now since the horrific Rana Plaza disaster that claimed at least 1,135 lives and left hundreds more missing, wounded or incapacitated. The scale and gravity of the disaster generated a chorus of condemnations from all around the world and mobilised global opinion to revamp and improve building structures and working conditions within the industry. It was a wake-up call! International Labour Organisation (ILO), in this regard, acted quickly and negotiated, within the first ten...


Colossal tragedy and corporate liability

THE fact that the Rana Plaza tragedy took away more than 1100 unsuspecting lives on April 24, 2013 and that the nation is yet to witness manifest punishment of those responsible for criminally negligent acts strikes at the base of our civilised existence. Financial compensations and efforts to rehabilitate mentally and physically shocked workers may cause some relief, but effective punitive measures with a view to deterring the potential offenders from causing such ghastly mischief are not in sight. It...

Menendez urges govt, BGMEA to allow trade unions

Menendez urges govt, BGMEA to allow trade unions

US Senator Robert Menendez has urged the Bangladesh government and the BGMEA to take immediate steps to end the suppression of fledgling trade unions by readymade garment workers. “If the BGMEA and the government of Bangladesh do not take immediate and concerted steps to end the suppression of fledgling unions, it is only a matter of time before another large-scale tragedy hits Bangladesh’s garment industry, and the ‘made in Bangladesh’ brand is tarnished beyond repair,” the senator said. Menendez, chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, issued the statement on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy. “The BGMEA and the government of Bangladesh must understand this simple message: Western consumers will...

Transparency highest

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) yesterday denied The Daily Star reporter access to a press conference held at the PMO without explaining any reason. The Daily Star, however, carries the report based on information obtained from secondary sources. The Relief and Welfare Fund of the prime minister operates with the highest transparency and accountability, said Mahbubul Hoque Shakil, the prime minister's special assistant yesterday. Addressing a press conference at the PMO, he said negative campaign against Bangladesh's garment industry would...

RMG workers' bid to lay siege to BGMEA Bhaban foiled

RMG workers' bid to lay siege to BGMEA Bhaban foiled

Police today foiled garments workers’ attempt to lay siege to BGMEA headquarters in Karwan Bazar this afternoon demanding death penalty of Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana. Transport movement on the road in front of Jatiya Press Club remained suspended for two and a half hours since 10:00am following the incident.  Leaders and activists of Garments Sramik Trade Union Kendra, a platform for labourers, gathered in front of the press club in the morning and held a one-hour rally to mark the first anniversary of Rana Plaza collapse. Around 11:00am, the workers started towards the headquarters of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in procession to lay siege to the building. They have...


US senator for ending union harassment

US senator for ending union harassment

US Senator Robert Menendez has urged BGMEA to take immediate and substantial steps to end the harassment and intimidation of trade union organisers and members by the garment factory owners. “I cannot support the renewal or expansion of Bangladesh’s GSP (generalised system of preferences) benefits as long as union organisers and members are subject to harassment, intimidation, and violence from BGMEA factory owners and managers,” the senator said in a letter sent to BGMEA President M Atiqul Islam yesterday. Menendez, in the letter, also urged the president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to exercise his leadership to end the grave injustice and protect workers’ rights and safety. Menendez, chairmen...

Safety vs. cents and dollars

THE debate over 'Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh' is an understandable one. Inspection standards specified by Accord, which is a platform of some 150 European clothing retailers and brands, are being termed as too stringent by the garments manufacturers' representative body BGMEA. One of the sticking points is the hiring of foreign experts and engineers for inspection. This of course has got not only BGMEA but also legal experts up in arms with regards to how...

It's time to pay up

It's time to pay up

TWENTY FOURTH FEBRUARY: Ten months ago 1,135 workers were killed in the Rana Plaza collapse due to corporate criminal negligence and non-compliance with the Bangladesh Building Code 2006. Over 2,000 received immediate medical care. The disabled need long-term treatment. 285 children lost their parents. Reports suggest that 2,515 persons were rescued alive, twelve of...

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