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Bangladesh to extend agreement to protect garment workers

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2017-11-02 11:00:00 – Chennai

Poor working conditions and low wages have long been a concern in Bangladesh’s garment industry, to protect garment workers Bangladesh will be extending an agreement into national regulations, promising more stringent safety checks for its 4 million apparel workers, a labour union said.

The Bangladesh accord runs to May 2018, but the government has agreed for it to continue beyond that date until a national regulatory body is ready to take over monitoring, a trade union said Tuesday.

The Bangladesh Accord is a legally-binding agreement between global brands and trade unions to establish a fire and safety programme for the country’s $28 billion a year textile industry.

Christy Hoffman, Deputy General Secretary of Uni Global Union said that the goal of the accord has always been to transition to a credible regulatory regime by the Bangladeshi government. The talks with the government show that it recognises the importance of a safe ready-made garment industry, and they will continue to work with regulators to help enhance their capacity.

The new agreement was reached on Oct. 19 between brands, trade unions, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the U.N.’s International Labour Organisation and the Bangladeshi government, said a statement from the Accord.

Boiler room inspections will be included in the programme following concerns after a blast in July killed 10 workers.

Hoffman said that at present, they are working out how they can fund the inspections, remediation and technical expertise needed. The programme will also establish safety committees on factory floors as mandated by law to ensure better monitoring of safety features.

Under the accord, more than 118,500 fire, electrical and structural hazards have been identified at 1,800 factories which supply at least 200 brands.

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