One of the major subjects that were discussed at the Dhaka Apparel Summit held recently in Dhaka, Bangladesh was the steps that the Government has been taking to maintain and sustain the relationship between employers and workers in the readymade garment sector. While addressing the Summit, the Premier of Bangladesh said the Government is committed to ensuring compliance with regard to labour rights, workplace safety and environmental standard in Bangladesh’s apparel and textile industry as its contribution to the economy of the country is huge.
Sheikh Hasina asserted that several initiatives are underway to ensure the legal rights of the workers and also the formation of many welfare-oriented programmes like Labour Welfare Foundation and Welfare Fund for the workers in the export-oriented industries. Besides, the Government has also strengthened the Department of Inspection of Factories and Establishment for improving the environment of factories and ensuring their safety, she said.
“Measures have also been taken to strengthen the Minimum Wage Commission apart from granting right to do union at EPZs, amendment of labour laws and issuance of labour rules for protecting worker’s rights,” reaffirmed the Prime Minister.
The industry in recent years has achieved higher compliance standards in terms of wages, workplace safety, norms, practices and harmonious industrial relations. “There has been a 77 per cent increase in basic wage. The assessment of all the 3,869 factories as recommended by global brands and retailers has been completed. The factories are now working hand in hand with global brands and retailers to ensure international standards. Every factory has an Occupational Safety Committee where employers and workers are working together,” she added.
Additionally, the Prime Minister said the setting up of Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) has been made mandatory by the Government before establishing any industry. Measures have also been taken to set up ETPs in big housing projects to safeguard the workers and the environment.