BGMEA wakes up, but slowly

Garment owners promise to bear expenses of fire victims’ families for 10 years

It took four days for the trade body of garment makers to take a mere decision to form a taskforce that will give the factory owners a deadline to upgrade their fire safety measures.

The BGMEA still does not know when the taskforce will be formed and when the factory owners will be given the deadline.

The BGMEA came up with a promise never heard of: If the owners do not meet the deadline, the taskforce will close their factories.

The announcement came from Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, after the fire killed more than 100 workers at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia on November 24.

“We want to take lesson from the tragic death in Ashulia. We want to rectify us,” Mohiuddin said after an Extraordinary General Meeting of the trade body at its office in Dhaka.

All factories, whether they are BGMEA members or not, will come under the purview, he said.

The trade body will also introduce ‘service books’ for the workers and keep their track records, Mohiuddin said.

The BGMEA chief also said the owners will introduce the fingerprint-based biometric identification system for the workers.

At the hurriedly-called meeting, around 70 garment exporters showed interest to bear the expenses of the families of the fire victims for the next 10 years.

Former BGMEA president Anwar-ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez said the entire garment sector cannot suffer for the misdeeds committed by one or two factories.

Anwar A Chowdhury, chairman of AJ Group, a garment manufacturer, urged the owners to spend more time with their mid-level management.

He also called upon the owners to keep their factory gates open so that workers can manage to escape in case of any accident.

Atiqul Islam, a director of the BGMEA, said the garment makers follow the compliance issues only when the international buyers push for those.

He also called for forming a disaster management fund for the workers.

BGMEA Vice-president Siddiqur Rahman said: “Our buyers will be shaky if we do not correct us.”

Source: The Daily Star


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