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Sub-contracting guideline for RMG drafted

The government is going to finalise a guideline for establishing a transparent and accountable sub-contracting system in the readymade garment sector to ensure workers’ safety and improve working conditions in the sub-contracting factories, commerce ministry officials said.
The ministry has already formulated a draft sub-contracting guideline that will be finalised at a meeting with stakeholders including garments makers and exporters on Wednesday, they said.
‘The draft guideline has been prepared in line with the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity in the RMG Sector in Bangladesh signed among the government, factory owners and workers after the tragic Rana Plaza collapse at Savar that killed at least 1,100 workers,’ a commerce ministry official told New Age on Monday.
The guideline will be made mandatory for all owners of both exporting factories and sub-contracting factories, he said.
He said that the draft guideline had been prepared based on the drafts proposed by the BGMEA, BKMEA and Export Promotion Bureau.
According to the draft guideline, sub-contracting factories or third party manufacturers must have to be a member of any apparel makers and exporters associations such as BGMEA and BKMEA.
A sub-contracting factory will have to be a compliance factory, otherwise they will not be eligible for getting any sub-contract for manufacturing garment products, it stated.
The factories will have to follow a checklist provided by the government to ensure workers’ safety, welfare and working environment in the factories.
A sub-contracting monitoring committee consisting of government officials and apparel makers and exporters will monitor the compliance situation of the sub-contracting factories, the guideline said.
The main factory and sub-contracting factory will inform the associations about the sub-contracts, it said.
The guideline also says that the sub-contacting factory should pay salaries to workers following the minimum wage board declared by the government and workers of the sub-contracting factories should be covered under group insurance and payment of premium should be updated.
Sub-contracting factory will have to comply with the existing labour laws in the country.
After Tazreen Fashions fire in November 24 last year which killed 112 workers and Rana Plaza collapse, the miserable situation related to fire safety and working conditions in sub-contracting factories appeared as great concern.
RMG sector insiders say that many big companies take huge volume of direct export orders from the international buyers and give sub-contract to different factories as they are not able to produce such huge clothing items and supply in time as required by the international buyers.
There is an allegation that many companies give sub-contract to non-compliant factories to ensure timely shipment and to make extra profit as non-compliant factories produce apparel items at cheaper rates.
Commerce ministry officials said that a transparent and accountable sub-contracting system, now, became an essential part of the action plan provided by the US government for reviving GSP facility for Bangladesh.
According to BGMEA and BKMEA, there are around 4,500 active factories listed with them. Of the factories, around 2,000 factories receive direct export orders from buyers and the remaining factories do sub-contracting while there is another nearly 1,000 factories that work as third party manufacturers, mostly non-compliant with fire safety and working conditions measures and these factories are not member of any associations.


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