Minister makes commitment for worker safety
The government is committed to improving factory conditions and has engaged all stakeholders of the garment sector to make a safe working environment, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said.
The cabinet approved an amendment to the 2006 labour law which is expected to be passed in the next parliamentary session, she said in a meeting with US Congressman Joseph Crowley in Washington DC on Wednesday.
The minister is now in the US for meetings with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Congressmen, garment buyers and other stakeholders for continuation of the GSP for Bangladesh.
Ethical buying and responsible roles of retailers are important to improve safety standards and labour welfare, Dipu Moni said, according to a statement.
She told Crowley that a baseline survey is underway to find factories housed in faulty buildings and take punitive measures against the violators of building and fire safety codes.
Within a year or so, Bangladesh's trading partners would see a positive change in its factories and find those as compliant with the required standards, she hoped.
Crowley, who is also the co-chair of Bangladesh Caucus in the US Congress, thanked Dipu Moni for the helpful update on Bangladesh government's initiatives.
He enquired about the status of the cases filed against certain labour leaders on which the Bangladesh minister briefed him. He said he would share the information with his other colleagues in the US Congress.
Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA Akramul Qader, Lawmaker Saifuzzaman Chowdhury and senior foreign ministry officials were also present. On the same day, a three-member delegation of American Apparel and Footwear Association, led by its President and CEO Kevin M Burke, called on Dipu Moni at her hotel suite.
Burke said the international buyers have been closely monitoring Bangladesh's responses to address the factory safety issue. The association's leaders said the agreement lately signed by the retailers sourcing from Bangladesh was a timely move.