Safety inspections of all export-oriented ready made garments (RMG) and knitwear factory buildings in Bangladesh is set to begin on Friday.
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) will assess the factory buildings that are not part of Alliance or Accord, both for structural integrity, and fire and electrical safety.
This was decided at a meeting of the National Tripartite Committee (NTC) held on Thursday with Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar in the chair, Reports UNB.
The Committee comprising the key stakeholders in the RMG and knitwear industry, including key government agencies, employers (BEF, BGMEA and BKMEA) and trade unions endorsed the harmonized minimum standards against which the building assessments will be carried out.
Representatives of Accord and Alliance were also present in the meeting.
The decision follows the joint development and finalization of the standards at an ILO-facilitated workshop earlier this month by technical experts of the three initiatives: Accord, Alliance as well as BUET on behalf of the NTC.
“The agreement today (Thursday) forms a major breakthrough which will help ensure the safety of all workers in the garment industry in Bangladesh and prevent tragic events like Tazreen and RanaPlaza from happening again. No worker in Bangladesh should die because of unsafe work places,” said Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar.
Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan, Director General, Fire Service and Civil Defense; Shahidullah Azim, acting President of BGMEA; Mohammad Hatem, First Vice President of BKMEA; Farooq Ahmed, Secretary General, Bangladesh Employers’ Federation (BEF); Dr Wajedul Islam Khan, Member Secretary, National Coordination Committee for Workers’ Education; RAJUK; PWD; BUET senior professors; and representatives from concerned ministries attended the meeting.
The NTC was formed to implement the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Building and Fire Safety in the RMG sector in Bangladesh. The aim of the National Tripartite Plan of Action is to take comprehensive action to prevent any further loss of life, limb and property through workplace fires and related incidents in the RMG industry.
Srinivas Reddy, Country Director, ILO expressed satisfaction with the result of the meeting.
This adoption of safety standards and harmonized guidelines is a significant development to improve safety and working conditions in garment industry in Bangladesh, he said.
“We will continue to facilitate and support the efforts of the government, employers and workers organizations to improve working conditions and advance workers’ rights, as part of ILO’s ‘Improving Working Conditions in the Ready Made Garment Sector Programme.”
The Working Conditions Programme, launched on October 22, is supported by the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).