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Alliance to introduce helplines for RMG workers from Monday

image001The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a platform of the North American retailers, is going to introduce helplines at their outsourcing RMG factories gradually from Monday next to hear from workers about their safety and security concerns.

The “Alliance Worker Helpline” is a confidential reporting channel that provides workers with an accessible and timely way to raise their voices about their safety and other concerns to the Alliance without any fear.

“The Alliance, which will formally begin the launching of “Alliance Worker Helplines” at the RMG factories from June 9 next, it would set up the helpline at a single factory on the very first-day,” M Rabin, managing director of Alliance, told the Dhaka Tribune.

The help lines will be set up gradually while the number of the total factories would be increased up to 25 by mid June, this year, he added.

Under a pilot programme, the Alliance will gradually set up helplines at 50 factories in the first phase and it would be extended up to 100 factories by the end of 2014.

The aim of the helplines is to provide factory workers with an opportunity to raise their voices against their safety concerns, so they can be listen carefully and also acted upon in a timely manner to avert any untoward incident.

Using a mobile phone, the workers can report about their safety and  security  concerns though the helplines and the collected information would then be verified, sharing the info with the validated factory managers, and finally, if there any serious safety concerns are found it would be verified by the qualified technical experts.

From the very beginning of the initiative  for setting up the helplines for the workers, the factory owners were showing their reservation and also opposing the move just saying, “It could be used by the vested quarters to create anarchy in the RMG sector.”

“To avert any kind of miss use of helplines, the workers would be trained up and the allegations received from the workers would also be re-checked,” said Rabin.

According to helpline guideline, hearing the voice of the workers from the factories, trained field teams of Alliance would soon visit the factories to explain to the problem to the managers to reach a solution.

Garments workers safety came on the spot light after the incident of Rana Plaza, an eight-story commercial building having housed five factories, collapsed in Savar on April 24, leaving at least 1,135 workers killed and over 2,500 injured.

Following the deadliest incident, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety took initiatives to improve safety standard and ensure workers rights. Introducing helpline is one of the initiatives.

As a part of their safety improvement initiative, the Alliance and Accord inspected 558 and over 600 factories respectively. Resultantly, a total of 19 factories have been closed as per the directives of the review panel.

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Source: Dhaka Tribune

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