Demand for a permanent trust fund for RMG workers
Speakers yesterday urged international brands, factory owners and government to develop a trust fund to meet the immediate needs of the garment workers.
To develop the fund, employers and government will pay Tk 5 each for each worker, while the brands will pay 10 cents per piece of garment, according to Roy Ramesh Chandra, general secretary of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, Bangladesh chapter of IndustriALL Global Union, a global union
The fund, to be titled Bangladeshi Garment Workers Trust Fund, will meet the immediate needs of garment workers and ensure retirement benefits, he said, adding that the country has the experience in setting up this kind of trust fund for tea sector workers.
Chandra's comments came at a social dialogue on industrial relation and sustainable development of the garment industry in Bangladesh, organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, a German political foundation named after the Western European country's first democratically elected president, at BRAC Centre in the city.
Michael Sommer, president of
the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), a global platform currently representing 176 million workers in 161 countries, and chairman of the Confederation of German Trade Unions, assured the union leaders that he will speak with the European buyers to develop
The ITUC affiliates in Bangladesh represent 80 percent of all trade union members in the country.
He called for more rights for trade unions in Bangladesh for establishing true social partnership between employers, workers and the government, and also stressed the importance of involving trade unions as equal partners in international inspection initiatives.
Sommer recently called in on Bangladesh to see the progress made in the one year since the Rana Plaza collapse.
He visited a couple of textile factories to get an impression of the conditions under which garment products for international buyers are being produced, and held meetings with stakeholders of the garment supply chain.
During his three-day visit which concluded on April 6, the ITUC president called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu, and also met with Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus and BRAC Founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed.
At the end of his visit, he inaugurated the new Bangladesh office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which represents the values of the German Social Democratic Party.