DHAKA (ILO News) - The first meeting of the National Tripartite Committee formed to implement the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Building and Fire Safety in the Ready-Made Garment Sector in Bangladesh (NAP) was held on Thursday, 6 June 2013.
The meeting, at the Ministry of Labour, was chaired by Mr Mikail Shipar, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment. The Tripartite Committee brings together representatives of Government, workers’ and employers’ organizations, with the International Labour Organization (ILO) playing an advisory role.
The NAP was formally agreed on March 24, 2013. The aim of the Action Plan is to take comprehensive action to prevent any further loss of life, limb and property through workplace fires and related incidents. To do this the Action Plan aims to identify activities in three categories – legislative and policy, administrative, and practical. The practical activities under consideration include assessing the structural integrity of all active ready-made garment (RMG) factories, developing and distributing educational tools on rights and occupational safety and health to workers and middle managers, and redeploying and rehabilitating workers affected by the recent accidents.
Among the items discussed by the Committee was a proposal to merge into one document the commitments made by the tripartite partners in the NAP and those they made in the Joint Statement signed on May 4, at the end of the recent ILO high level mission. The Committee members agreed to merge both and finalise the document in a week’s time.
On the issue of factory safety assessments, the meeting also agreed to set up a tripartite technical sub-committee. The sub-committee will focus on the structural integrity of buildings and fire safety, including practical details of how inspections will be carried out, the parameters of such inspections, and co-ordination with other assessments such as those planned by European and US buyers and brands. The sub-committee will be chaired by the Ministry of Labour and will be directly monitored by the high-level Tripartite Committee. The ILO will offer technical assistance as requested.
The Committee agreed to hear a report at its next meeting on the medical, vocational and economic rehabilitation of victims of the recent garment factory disasters.
The Director of the ILO’s Country Office for Bangladesh, Mr Srinivas Reddy introduced a team of international ILO specialists who will support the Committee in developing its work. The ILO team’s expertise covers a wide range of areas, including international labour standards, fundamental principles and rights at work, occupational health and safety, fundraising and partnership-building, and communications.
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