Remediation Coordination Cell for Bangladesh garment industry launched

The safety of the Bangladesh garment industry is set to take a further step forward following the launch of a Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC)

News | Dhaka, Bangladesh | 14 May 2017
State Minister of Labour and Employment Md Mujibul Haque launches the RCC
The Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) for the Bangladesh garment industry will focus on managing the remediation process for garment factories under the Government of Bangladesh’s National Initiative.

The new unit will be staffed and supported by seconded members of regulatory bodies including the Department of Inspections for Factories and Establishments, Fire Service and Civil Defense, RAJUK, Chief Electrical Inspector, Public Works Department and Chittagong Development Authority. They will initially be supported by private sector engineers hired to provide technical expertise for remediation follow up. The RCC is supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) with funding from Canada, the Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Speaking at the launch, Md Mujibul Haque, State Minister for Labour and Employment said, “The Government of Bangladesh is fully committed to ensuring the safety of the garment industry and all who work in it. The remediation of all garment factories must be completed as quickly as possible and the Remediation Coordination Cell will make a major contribution to this goal.”

Initially the RCC will work with 1,293 operational factories. However this number will change as new factories are established and enter the National Initiative or as factories exit the two other inspection initiatives overseeing remediation, namely the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. In addition to overseeing the remediation process, the RCC will contribute to build the capacity of regulators as well as further collaboration between them. As the work of the RCC progresses, it is planned to establish long-term, coordinated approach to safety inspections and licensing. This may see the RCC evolve into an industrial safety unit or agency that provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ service issuing factory building, fire, electrical and occupancy permits.

Srinivas Reddy, ILO Country Director for Bangladesh said, “The operation of the Remediation Coordination Cell marks a major step towards improving workplace safety in the Bangladesh garment sector. It is a concrete manifestation of efforts to institutionalize safety reforms which will ultimately benefit all sectors.”

The RCC has been established through the collaboration of the Government of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA). Trade unions and international buyers have been consulted on its development while technical support is provided by ILO.

Following the collapse of Rana Plaza in April 2013 the immediate priority was to inspect all export-oriented garment factories for structural, fire and electrical safety. Two buyer-driven groups, the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety undertook inspections of approx. 2,230 factories that their members source from. The remaining 1,549 factories were inspected by the National Initiative supported by ILO. (Of those factories a number have subsequently closed resulting in the 1,293 factories the RCC will work with.)

The RCC will be based at the Pragati Insurance Ltd Bhaban in Dhaka’s Karwan Bazar area. The launch of the RCC took place at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel. Also taking part in the event were: Mikail Shipar, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment; Benoît-Pierre Laramée, High Commissioner of Canada to Bangladesh; Leoni Margaretha Cuelenaere, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bangladesh; Salahuddin Kasem Khan, President, Bangladesh Employers Federation; Siddique Rahman, President Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association; A.H. Aslam Sunny, 1st Vice President, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association; Chowdhury Ashiqul Alam, Member Secretary, NCCWE; Kutubuddin Ahmed, Secretary General, IndustriALL Bangladesh Council; Md. Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan Inspector General, Department of Inspections for Factories and Establishments.