100 RMG units asked to upgrade, 16 shut temporarily

Inspectors' action after safety assessment: 15,000 workers turn jobless

26 April 2014 Kazi Zahidul Hasan

Safety inspectors have so far shut down 16 apparel units temporarily and ordered 100 of others to upgrade, after completion of their building, fire and electrical safety assessment, official sources said.
Besides, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) closed another 23 plants due to safety concern.
The sudden closure of the factories cut about 15,000 apparel workers, an office bearer of BGMEA told The New Nation yesterday.     
"They have become jobless and it is now a big headache for us to give them jobs," Md. Shahidullah Azim, Vice President of BGMEA told The New Nation yesterday.  
When asked, he said, "We appreciate the buyers' move of factory inspection as it will eventually raise safety standards and improve Bangladesh's brand image abroad. "But closure of the factories is not the solution because such a move is not only affecting the earnings of the owners, it is making hundreds of workers jobless," he added.   
"We cannot escape our responsibility in this regard, but things should not be changed overnight. The owners need more time to shift their factories for making them compliant," he said.
The BGMEA leader claimed that they had already made tremendous progress and efforts are going on to make the industry sustainable.   
He also said that 60 per cent of the total active factories were in purpose made buildings and 40 per cent in shared building constructed mainly for residential purposes.
Seeking support from the global brands and buyers, he said, "They should also take the responsibility as they are reaping benefits from the cheap products outsourcing from these factories. The retailers can give loans to their manufacturers needed to carry out the upgrades if they could not immediately afford the cost of the work."
Meanwhile, the inspectors of BUET, Accord and Alliance have already completed the safety assessment to a total of 1123 garment factories since they launched the initiative based on a common operating manual.
During the inspection, they identified safety problems in the factories, drew up recommendations to improve safety and set deadline for the owners to implement the necessary measures.
"Of the total, they only close down 16 apparel units. In my mind, the number is very insignificant as we count the total number of the factories," he said, adding, "The picture shows that most of the apparel units have already came under the cover of compliance."

Add Rate