Thursday, 21st October, 2021
Thursday, 21st October, 2021

Focus on human rights, workplace environment to sustain RMG growth

As per the study, basic facilities for workers are still unavailable across smaller factories than those large and medium ones

To better handle the LDC post-graduation challenges, the local RMG sector needs to improve its human rights and work environment in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs).

Even though the sector has made significant improvements in ensuring workplace safety over the past decade– to sustain it, human and labour rights issues need to be addressed at international standards with the help of the guideline provided by UNGPs.

There is a lack of indulgence with the leaders of garment workers and their owners as many factory owners are often seen avoiding taking responsibilities and many workers are still not aware of them.

Experts also claim there is a shortage of labour organizations.

According to one such leader Babul Akhtar, although the garment owners speak favourably about union leaders in the media and in rallies, they do not want to deal with trade unions.

“They see trade unions as problems,” he said.

Speakers gave voice to these concerns at a virtual dialogue on Saturday, organized by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in partnership with the Christian Aid in Bangladesh titled “Building the RMG Sector in Adherence with the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs).”

CPD Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun delivered the introductory remarks and Country Director of Christian Aid Bangladesh Pankaj Kumar delivered the welcome remarks at the session.

Former State Minister for Labor Mujibul Haque, Labor Secretary Ehsan Elahi and BGMEA president Faruque Hassan also took part in the event.

CPD Special Fellow Mostafizur Rahman presided over the function where Khandaker Golam Moazzem, the research director of CPD delivered the keynote speech.

Mujibul Haque said: “In our country, there is a gap between employers and the workers. It is possible to bridge this gap by raising awareness and dialogue between the two sides. Owners should understand that trade unions are not harmful.”

During the session, it was revealed that a study has been conducted on the “State of the UNGPs in the RMG Sector of Bangladesh”, which pointed out that Bangladesh’s overall progress in terms of UNGPs is still below the elementary level.

As per the study, basic facilities for workers are still unavailable across smaller factories than those large and medium ones which have made improvements.

Factories across Dhaka and Gazipur have performed better in human rights variables compared to those of Chattogram and Narayanganj.

Md Mojibul Haque, MP, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Labour and Employment, spoke as the special guest about the importance of closing the gap between owners and workers by raising more awareness on the matter on both ends.

During the event, the labour secretary also informed that they are at the final stages of determining the minimum age for entry into the garment workforce with the amendment of labour laws to be completed as well.

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