Post-Rana-Plaza efforts praised

International agencies and representatives of various nations have welcomed the improvements in the readymade garments sector made in the year since the Rana Plaza disaster, while stressing the efforts must continue.

Published : 24 April 2014, 07:37 PM
Updated : 24 April 2014, 07:56 PM

A discussion - One Year after Rana Plaza: Progress and Way Forward - was jointly organised by the labour ministry and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on Thursday at a hotel in Dhaka.

Speakers reaffirmed their commitment to working together for workers’ safety and rights in the RMG sector.

Some donors, however, vented their frustration over many victims not getting adequate compensation and delays in the payouts.

Representatives from the European Union, USA, Canada, ILO, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom spoke at the event.

The expatriates welfare minister, BGMEA, BKMEA, Bangladesh Employers Federation, National Coordination Committee for Workers Education and labour ministry representatives spoke at the event.

ILO Deputy Director General Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo said there had been progress in amendments to relevant laws, improvement of work environment and overall initiatives. He stressed the need to keep up the momentum.

“We also need to think ahead in terms of preparedness, through a workplace injury insurance scheme for example,” he added.

Houngbo said he was ashamed to hear that some victims had not been properly compensated. He appealed for rectifying this drawback as quickly as possible.

US Ambassador Dan Mozena said the initiatives taken so far were positive developments. He expressed the hope that Bangladesh would emerge as a new global model in matter of safety.

“The UK will continue to support efforts that will help the garment industry in Bangladesh become more than a source of revenue but a source of pride,” British High Commissioner Robert W Gibson said.

He urged for efforts to ensure that the commitments made translate into real changes.

“It has been a year of continuous efforts by the Government of Bangladesh towards the goal of ensuring safety for the workers and to prevent another Rana Plaza type incident in the future,” Expatriate Welfare Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said.

“We have already upgraded the Chief Inspector of Factories and Establishments office to a Department, sanctioning 679 new staff positions in the Directorate, including 392 new inspectors. This fulfils the major promise made in the National Tripartite Plan of Action, and the current government is committed to continue its effort,” he added.

A minute of silence was observed in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the collapse.

Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar, ILO Director Srinivasa Reddy, High Commissioner of Canada Heather Cruden, Netherlands Ambassador Gerben S de Jong, European Union Ambassador William Hanna and BGMEA President Atiqul Islam spoke at the event, among others.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher