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

Activities and progress of the Remediation Coordination Cell

July 2017 - May 2018

The Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) for the Bangladesh ready-made garment (RMG) sector was officially launched on 15 May 2017. The RCC focuses on managing the remediation process for garment factories under the Government of Bangladesh’s National Initiative. This initiative is supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) with funding from Canada, the Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Activities and progress made by the RCC to date with the technical and financial support of the ILO are listed below.

Action

Note

RCC office premises established and operational 

The RCC office has been established and furnished in the Kawran Bazar area of Dhaka close to the offices of the Department of Inspection for factories and Establishments (DIFE).

The premises are currently being used to hold Taskforce and Core Body meetings as well as workshops on remediation for factories and other purposes. 

 

Sensitization of factory owners

Owners and representatives of 754 RMG factories under the national initiative have taken part in sessions organised by DIFE to sensitize employers on the process of remediation.

 

Process, methodology and detailed plans to oversee remediation in National Initiative factories developed for the RCC

A process, methodology and detailed plans guiding how remediation under the National Initiative will be carried out have been developed with inputs from international engineering specialists. 

Remediation strategy developed The Ministry of Labour and Employment (MOLE) and DIFE have developed a Remediation Strategy for the RMG sector with the support of ILO. All remediation related activities are taking place based on this strategy.
 
Collaboration among regulators established DIFE and the Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD) department have committed to provide inspectors and engineers to follow up on remediation work for a transition period before private engineering firms are engaged.

Monitoring of remediation 26 DIFE engineers and labour inspectors and eight FSCD inspectors are currently working to monitor, follow up and expedite the remediation of National Initiative factories. Another 80 case handlers spread between DIFE’s Dhaka head office and district offices coordinate and monitor progress of the factories.
 

Corrective Action Plans and Detailed Engineering Assessments

All factories under the National Initiative have prepared Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) based on the findings of inspection reports.

Of the 809 national initiative factories undergoing follow-up by DIFE, 107 are reported to have fully remediated.

Status of CAPs till March 2018 is as follows – 422 factories have remediated more than 50% and 111 factories have remediated more than 80% of the compliance issues identified in CAPs. In all 29% of noncompliance items in CAPS relating to structural safety; 31% relating to electrical safety and 27% relating to fire safety have been addressed (as per factory reports submitted to DIFE).

RCC recruitment

As per the current Implementation Agreement between DIFE and ILO, DIFE will hire a number of engineering, communication, data management and support staff to facilitate the operation of the RCC.

The tender process for recruiting 47 RCC engineers in the three disciplines (structural, fire and electrical) was initiated by ILO in May 2018 and is awaiting finalization. This activity is being carried out through consultation with relevant stakeholders and in line with ILO’s standard procurement procedures.

In parallel, the Government of Bangladesh has initiated the process of hiring 60 engineers for DIFE through their own funding.

To assist DIFE in accelerating factory remediation, ILO has proposed to hire 10 temporary engineers for the RCC. Two of these engineers are now on board and the recruitment process for the remaining eight engineers is ongoing.

Guidance manual developed

Guidance manuals on structural, fire and electrical safety have been developed for delegated RCC engineers.
 

On-the-job training and knowledge transfer 43 engineers and inspectors from DIFE, Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) have received training to enhance their skills and technical knowledge on preliminary assessment reports, CAP formulation, CAP validation and orientation on DEA Guidance Manuals.

The training included a day-long knowledge sharing session facilitated by ACCORD, ALLIANCE and FSCD.
 

Taskforce meetings being regularly held

 

 

As of March 2018, 32 meetings of the RCC Task Forces have been held. These task forces monitor the progress of Corrective Action Plans and Detailed Engineering Assessments in national initiative factories.

 

Core Body meetings

 

As of March 2018, six meetings of the RCC Core Body have been held. These meetings bring together representatives of the regulatory agencies involved in the RCC to coordinate the remediation work in the National Initiative.

These agencies include Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), Fire Service and Civil Defense (FSCD), the Electrical Advisor and Chief Electrical Inspector, RAJUK and Chittagong Development Authority.

 

Compliance protocol A compliance protocol to ensure compliance and address non-cooperation from factories was drafted by the ILO in consultation with BGMEA and BKMEA.

This protocol has been approved by the Inspector General of DIFE and was presented at the 13th meeting of the National Tripartite Committee for “National Tripartite Plan of Action (NTPA) on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity in the Ready-Made Garment Sector in Bangladesh” on 9 January 2018. 

The ILO has requested the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MOLE) to commence the enforcement of this compliance protocol.
 
National Steering Committee (NCS) for safety Terms of Reference (ToR) for the National Steering Committee (NCS) has been reviewed by DIFE and was tabled in the 13th National Tripartite Committee for NTPA meeting held on 9 January 2018. As per the meeting’s decision, the ToR was sent to MoLE for review and finalization.

The NSC will serve as a coordinating body for factory safety in all industries and will be resourced based on requirements.

Currently, the NSC is seen to be an expansion of the National Tripartite Committee with addition of Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources and buyer representation.
 
Remediation financing A workshop on remediation financing was held on 27 September 2017. The event 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.

More than 300 factory owners and representatives have attended seven sessions on remediation financing in 2017 to gain clarification on credit facilities, application processes, eligible criteria and relevant contact persons at commercial banks. 10 factory owners had one-to-one follow-up discussions with Bangladesh Bank on the application process and seven factory owners are now in consultation with Bangladesh Bank to initiate the application process for credit facilities.
 
Remediation update meetings Between July 2017 and March 2018, eight remediation update meetings have been held between DIFE and owners of 443 factories.