Terming Ready–made Garments (RMG) as one of Bangladesh’s largest export sectors, speakers at a programcalled for ensuring occupational health and safety of the RMG workers in the interest of RMG sector.
Health safety is a big issue because if the workers’ health is affected, the RMG sector cannot sustain. So, steps are needed to ensure their both physical and mental health, otherwise, the sector will collapse, they said.
Referring to importance of the sector, they observed that the sectoris earning 82 percent of total export income and contributing to 18 percent of the country’s GDP.
They called for improving buildingand fire safety for the workers, taking measures for stopping sexual harassment and introducing trade union and safety committee in all the garment factories.
They remarked while addressing a discussion meeting titled ‘Improving Safety for Ready-made Garment Workers: Experiences and the Way Forward’ at a Hotel at Gulshan in the capital today (July 8).
The workers, especially female ones, work in unhealthy environment at their work places. Hence, they are suffering from anaemia, TB and pain at different parts of their bodies, putting their lives at risk, they added.
“Ensuring a decent risk free working condition at the factories will help realize the goal No. 8 of SDGs”.
American Center for International Labor Solidarity (Solidarity Center-Bangladesh) organized the event.
Shibnath Roy, Inspector General of Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), attended as the chief guest.
In his address, Roy called upon all concerned to supplement the government efforts in this regard, as the government alone will not be able to ensure the health of the workers.
He stressed the need on introducing trade union and safety committee inall the factories to ensure the rights of the workers. In addition, every factory must form anti-harassment committee as per the direction of the High Court.
Furthermore, he mentioned that an Occupational Safety and Health Institute at a cost of Tk 150 crorein collaboration with the Danish government will be established in Rajshahi.
Jon Hartough, Country Program Director of the Solidarity Center, Kelly Fay Rodriguez, Deputy Program Director, Keith L Goddard, representative of US Department of Labour, Rakibul Hasan, Program Officer, among others, spoke at the event, which was moderated by Advocate AKM Nasim, senior legal advisor of the Solidarity Center.
Representatives from BGMEA, RMG labour unions, workers, national and international labour rights organizations also participated in the program.