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16 Apr 2023

New Age

Bangladesh: Labour leaders report significant progress in factory safety in past decade, but trade union rights ignored

"Factory safety gets better, but trade union rights ignored", 16 April 2023

Labour leaders...said that Bangladesh’s readymade garment sector achieved significant progress in terms of improving workplace safety in the past one decade, but the trade union rights were being ignored often in the industry.

Although the country made significant progress in terms of occupational safety and health following the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013... it failed to make necessary progress when it came to ensuring workers’ rights due to absence of trade unions, they said.

At a seminar on ’10 years achievement on Occupational Health and Safety in Bangladesh’...trade union leaders said that they had representations in many tripartite committees but their recommendations were often ignored.

Kutub Uddin Ahmed, general secretary of IndustriAll Bangladesh Council, said that there were eight out of world’s top 10 green and environment-friendly garment factories in the country but none of them have a trade union...

Naimul Ahsan Jewel, general secretary of Jatiya Sramik Jote Bangladesh, said that a national committee namely Jatiya Shilpa Rokkha Council was formed in 2013 to oversee factory safety but the members were yet to visit a single factory during the past one decade.

He demanded that trade unions should be allowed and stressed strengthening capacity of DIFE for proper monitoring of safety in all industries including non-RMG sectors.

DIFE inspector general Nasir Uddin Ahmed said that it was not possible to conduct required inspection in all the factories due to a lack of manpower...

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufactures and Exporters Association executive president Mohammad Hatem urged the government to make the Bangladesh National Building Code realistic and said that many of the provisions of the BNBC did not match the reality of the country...