Govt committed to RMG workers’ welfare: commerce secretary

The government is firmly committed to the Sustainability Compact and the welfare of millions of readymade garment (RMG) workers, said Commerce Secretary Mofizul Islam.

“To date, we have already seen increased wages, greater presence of the trade unions and improved workplace rights,” he added.

Efforts must continue to improve these responsible practices because the economy of Bangladesh depends heavily on RMG exports, he added. The compact is an RMG compliance-monitoring framework rolled out after the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013.

It comprises three pillars to promote continuous improvements in labour rights, workplace health and safety and responsible business conduct in the sector. 

Islam’s remarks came at a high-level discussion between the ministry and International Labour Organization (ILO) in Dhaka on Tuesday, the organisation said in a statement yesterday.  The meeting aimed at looking at the need for ongoing responsible and efficient business practices in the country’s $30-billion RMG industry.

Tuomo Poutiainen, ILO country director for Bangladesh, said, “Experience from other countries has shown that the ability of a garment producing country to rise up through the value chain depends on a number of factors.”

These include close collaboration with brands, factories and the government, decent infrastructure and public services, he said. “This sector can only grow with greater transparency and stronger governance,” he added. 

The meeting was participated by 40 stakeholders from the RMG supply chain in Bangladesh including a host of international brands and retailers.

The participants included members of the Bangladesh Employers’ Federation, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

High on the agenda was progress under the third pillar of the Bangladesh Sustainability Compact - Responsible Business Conduct - with participants discussing ways to ensure the future sustainability of the Bangladesh RMG industry.


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