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3,500 factories on govt list for RMG sector database

3. Suravee GarmentsThe government has finalised a preliminary list of about 3,500 garment factories to include the name of the factories and their workers in a publicly accessible database for RMG sector.

As per the requirements of the GSP action plan set by the US as well as the requirement of Sustainable Compact of EU, the government has started work for creating the database for reporting labour, fire and building inspections as well as information on the factories and their locations.

The US government on June 27, 2013 suspended the generalised system of preferences for Bangladesh due to an insufficient improvement in worker rights condition.

The US on July 19 last year gave 16-point Bangladesh Action Plan for reinstating GSP facility for Bangladesh.

In the action plan, the US suggested that Bangladesh should ‘create a publicly accessible database/matrix of all RMG/knitwear factories as a platform for reporting labour, fire, and building inspections, including information on the factories and locations, violations identified, fines and sanctions administered, factories closed or relocated, violations remediated, and the names of the lead inspectors.’

The database will also contain reports on anti-union discrimination or other unfair labour practices.

The government in association with the International Labour Organisation has already appointed an IT company named Orangebd to create the database and expects that the preliminary work of the public discloser will be completed by March 31.

The government has set up a working committee headed by the inspector general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment to finalise the topics which will be included in the database.

‘The committee opined that the list of the factories, workers, and information related with the trade union activities can be put primarily in the database,’ Sayed Ahmed, the IG of the DIFE, told New Age on Friday.

He said that the working committee would sit on March 18 to finalise some issues like what kind of information the database would consist and what would be the limit of accessibility.

‘We are giving more emphasis on the security of the information which will be included in the database,’ Ahmed said.

Moshiur Rahman, additional director general of the DIFE, said that they had finalised a primary list of 4,498 garment factories and its workers and other activities that would be included in the database.

He said under an ILO project Orangebd would develop the full database and the IT firm had started to input the name of the factories in the server.

At a recent meeting with five foreign diplomats including US ambassador Dan W Mozena and EU ambassador William Hanna, government officials assured that the government had taken an initiative to create the database in association with the International Labour Organisation.

Demanding full implementation of the GSP action plan before the first anniversary of Rana Plaza tragedy that falls on April 24, the foreign diplomats said that a good number of foreign journalists would come to Bangladesh on the occasion (the anniversary) and they would want to know the progresses of the commitments that Bangladesh made after the factory disaster.

Garment factory owners have expressed their concerns over the public access of factory information and say if the inspection or audit reports of a faulty factory are shared in the database, it might lose its buyers even after correction of its defects.

They say that database accessibility should be limited within the government, buyers and factory owners.

Report: Moinul Haque
Source: New Age

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