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BGMEA working to comply with action plan of Revival of GSP

images2The apex trade body in the apparel sector is implementing fast the Bangladesh Action Plan, as set out by the US, in a bid to get the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility revived in the US market.

A good number of initiatives had already been taken in compliance with the requirements under the action plan, including those concerning fire safety, building safety and labour standards, said sources with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

Regaining the GSP facility for Bangladeshi products in the US market “is the top priority and necessary steps have been taken to regain it,” said a source.

BGMEA sources said the trade body took initiatives for improving fire and building safety as well as labour standards.

As part of the initiatives, about 30 officials were engaged to monitor safety standards and social compliance in the BGMEA member factories, according to the trade body sources.

Most of the steps were taken to ensure rights of workers as per the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention and other facilities to them. Several other conditions still remaining unmet were set to complied with, a high official of the ministry of commerce (MoC) told the FE.

“A team of 10 engineers are working at the BGMEA to inspect and monitor structural integrity of factory buildings,” a source concerned said.

As part of the initiatives, the apex apparel body was also providing fire safety training to mid-level management and supervisers under a crash programme, which already covered about 1,800 factories, the BGMEA statistics showed.

The BGMEA hired 35 former defence officials and got them trained by the fire service department with a view to solidifying the fire safety training, sources concerned said.

The team of fire safety trainers were now conducting fire safety training courses at the factory level starting from November 2013. They already conducted 161 courses, the sources said.

A labour cell was also created to resolve the issues between workers and the management of any factory. The cell was also strengthened by recruiting a labour expert to deal with trade union and labour-related issues, according to a BGMEA letter, sent to the MoC recently.

The remaining initiatives still pending would be taken as early as possible, a source said.

“We recently sent a letter to the MoC to inform it of the update regarding fire and building safety and labour standards at RMG factories,” a BGMEA member said.

An MoC official said they had received a letter on April 01 last from the BGMEA in respect of the progress made in fire and building safety.

The United States (US) and the European Union (EU) praised the progress Bangladesh made in meeting the conditions relating to revival of the GSP facility and improving the working environment in RMG factories.

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Report: Rezaul Karim
Source: Financial Express

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