Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Sector in Bangladesh Programme

RMG Programme Update

July - September 2017

The second phase of the Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Sector in Bangladesh Programme is funded by Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It covers four strategic areas which include ensuring factory safety through remediation; governance building to effectively regulate industrial safety and support labour inspection reform; improving occupational safety and health (OSH) in both policy and practice; and expansion of Better Work Bangladesh to ensure compliance in RMG factories.

Strategic Area 1: Ensuring Factory Safety through Remediation

Operation of Remediation Coordination Cell

A Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) was set up in May 2017 to manage the remediation of garment factories under the Government of Bangladesh’s National Initiative. The RCC offices are now fully equipped, and the RCC task force and core bodies are operating. All the Corrective Action Plans (CAPS) have been validated by the task force and 70 factories have initiated Detailed Engineering Assessments (DEA). 25% of the CAP items have been reported as complete by the factories undergoing remediation.

Guidance manual and knowledge transfer

Manuals on structural, fire and electrical safety have been developed for RCC engineers. The ILO is coordinating with Accord and Alliance engineers for knowledge transfer of practical experience on remediation follow up and information and knowledge management system.

Remediation financing

A workshop on remediation financing was held on 27 September 2017. It brought together representatives from employers’ organizations, banks, development partners and private enterprises to discuss the barriers to accessing funds needed for remediation work in ready-made garment (RMG) factories. A remediation kit for factories is being produced that includes all necessary information on the remediation process. 

Strategic Area 2: Governance

Remediation Strategy

The Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) drafted a Remediation Strategy in August 2017 with the support of ILO. This strategy has a long-term goal of ensuring building safety compliance in all industries in Bangladesh.

Fire Safety Institute at BUET

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) is providing a diploma course on Fire Safety Engineering with the support of ILO. The first batch of engineers have successfully completed the course in September 2017. BUET has offered a similar version of the course for factory managers.

Collaboration with the labour inspectorate

Reports on the Reform of Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), Motivation and Retention Strategy for DIFE staff and Annual Inspection Reporting Process and Inspection Quality Monitoring Framework have been drafted and shared with DIFE for their review. The programme will work closely with DIFE to develop an action plan and the Labour Inspection Reform Road Map based on the priorities of the programme and the recommendations stipulated in these documents.

Strategic Area 3: Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)

National action plan for OSH

DIFE will prepare the National Action Plan (NAP) for OSH with detailed description of tasks, roles, persons in charge, budgetary allocations and consultation with relevant stakeholders. To support this process, a discussion paper on preparing NAP has been shared with DIFE for further review.

Strategic Area 4: Better Work Bangladesh improving working conditions and productivity

Factory registration

As of September 2017, 151 factories are active, employing 314,192 workers, 56% of whom are women.

Advisory visits

161 advisory visits have been conducted in Better Work factories with an objective to effectively influence compliance with national and international labour standards.

Factory assessments

33 factory assessments have been conducted in Better Work factories in this quarter. These assessments provide an overview of factory performance in meeting national laws and international labour standards and using effective management systems. A total of 174 reports have been released so far and are available for review by external stakeholders.

Training services

Three industry seminars and nine trainings sessions were held with 167 participants (24% women) to build capacity of the factories for effectively addressing non-compliance issues and install best practices.

Formation of Participation Committees

16 special visits were made to facilitate formation of Participation Committees in Better Work factories through election. 24 elected PCs have been formed, where 28,785 workers (30% women) have elected 242 representatives (48% women).

Cross-cutting areas

Gender mainstreaming

Gender Action Plan for the ILO RMG programme has been drafted in line with the Gender Strategy of the programme. This plan includes detailed gender related actions for each of the four strategic areas.

As part of the effort to sensitize the tripartite constituents about ILO RMG Gender Action Plan, a meeting has been held with DIFE.

Information and Knowledge Management

The Labour Inspection Management Application (LIMA) system has been reviewed and configured for test run in all DIFE offices.

 
250 android tablets have been procured for DIFE to facilitate factory level inspection by the labour inspectors and other field level data collection.

Communication

A communication plan for the RCC has been developed. This includes the launch of a website and a quarterly bulletin to highlight the remediation progress.

Short videos on DIFE’s Reform, Gender Inclusion, LIMA App, IKMS and DIFE Foundational Training have been produced to showcase the activities and achievements of the RMG programme. An animation video that helps create awareness of the role and work of DIFE has been produced.

A fact sheet for the second phase of the RMG program has been developed. Articles on National Plan of Action for OSH and Access to Finance workshop have been published on the ILO website. These contents were further shared on ILO Facebook and ILO Twitter pages. A press release and a web article were produced on the occasion of the Mothers@Work launching event organized by ILO-Better Work Bangladesh and UNICEF.