850 factories face ouster

BGMEA decides over compliance failure

Refayet Ullah Mirdha

The trade body of garment makers has planned to cancel membership of 850 non-compliant industrial units — 600 in this month and the rest in February, said a leader of the platform.

These units had failed to conform to labour and safety standards despite repeated reminders from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), its Vice-president Faruque Hassan told The Daily Star by phone.

The association, however, has no plan to exclude any factory of the Tuba Group, the owning company of Tazreen Fashions that were gutted last month in a deadly fire. Faruque said the group’s other six units were compliant and operational.

BGMEA would ask the owners of the 850 non-compliant factories to produce relevant documents. If the BGMEA board is not satisfied with the documents, it will cancel their membership.

In a similar move in 2002, the trade body scrapped membership of 550 factories, Faruque said, and they have not yet been included in the association.

Some of the owners, however, may get fresh membership after they change the names and upgrade their factories, he said.

Currently the association has more than 5,500 members.

The new move came as the trade body had always been held responsible for any accident in the sector, Faruque said.

“These factories do not comply with any standards set by the international buyers or the government or BGMEA. Many of them are dysfunctional.”

But a few of these factories execute orders through sub-contracts in the peak season, the BGMEA vice-president said, adding sub-contractors hardly paid heed to compliance issues and so frequently faced hazardous accidents.

Some of such non-compliant garment units are also involved in forging GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) certificates. Bangladesh enjoys the facility as a least developed country in exporting products to the developed nations.

Meanwhile, the BGMEA authorities in the wake of the fire at Tazreen Fashions that killed 111 garment workers decided to form a taskforce to conduct drives against non-compliant factories.

Source: The Daily star


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