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ILO Extends Support for Bangladesh Apparel Industry

Bangladesh’s garment sector will continue its improvement initiatives with the help of a major initiative.

On Dec. 12, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and government representatives from Bangladesh, the Netherlands and the U.K. signed a Memorandum of Intent, which will continue reform efforts for the nation’s apparel industry.

Global officials that signed the agreement included the Ministry of Labor and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar, ILO director-general Guy Ryder, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands ambassador Leoni Margaretha Cuelenaere and head of DFID Bangladesh Jane Edmondson.

The government officials are working together in the ‘Improving Working Conditions in the Bangladesh Ready Made Garment Sector programme,’ which was established by the ILO and funded by Canada, the Netherlands and the U.K. The Memorandum will approve the program’s second phase, which is set to begin after June 2017.

The second phase will kick-start new projects, including the creation of a Remediation Coordination Cell for RMG factories. The program will continue to strengthen regulatory capacity and fortify the occupational health capabilities of workers’ organizations.

Since its launch in Oct. 2013, the program has worked with Bangladesh’s government to facilitate more RMG factories inspections for structural, fire and electrical safety. Three years later, the program has successfully led to the evaluation of over 1,500 RMG factories in Bangladesh.  Additionally, factory safety, workers’ health and the capacity of the Department of Inspections for Factories and Establishments has greatly benefited from the program.

“Since 2013 Bangladesh has come a long way to make its garment industry safer and to improve working conditions, Ryder said.  He added, “We can be positive about the progress made but the job is not yet finished.”