Accord with RMG retailers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 15, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 09:11 PM, May 14, 2013

Accord with RMG retailers

The sector needs to be totally reformed

We welcome, congratulate and thank the six big retailers for agreeing to sign a far reaching and legally binding plan to finance fire and building safety improvement in Bangladesh. It is expected that other buyers will also join in the effort. We are glad that our international business partners, who hugely benefit from Bangladesh's attractive cost advantage, and going to share in the transformative process which is now crucial for the future of our RMG sector.
However, the transformation that we need extends far wider than changes in the infrastructure. It must encompass the following steps:
(1) Workers must be paid internationally comparable salaries and given the different types of insurance coverage that are standard in the industry; (2) Trade unions must be permitted; (3) Understanding must be reached with foreign buyers not to push prices below a certain level; (4) Renovation work in all factories—shared and purpose built—must start immediately to adhere to safety standard; (5) Long-term plan for zoning of the RMG factories must begin now, starting with the relocation or closing down of the most vulnerable factories; (6) Separate ministry for the RMG sector, like we have for the manpower sector, must be immediately formed. The importance of the sector and its potential for growth demand it; (7) Punish all those responsible for major accidents of the recent past.
The above changes are a not only to preserve our $20 billion industry but also to realise its potential whose near-term forecast is around $50 billion.

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