Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Sector in Bangladesh (RMG Programme) - Phase I

Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Sector Programme In Bangladesh is an initiative of the Government of Bangladesh, implemented by International Labour Organization and funded by Canada, the Netherlands and the UK. The three-and-a-half year initiative focuses on improving RMG factory building safety, workers’ rights and overall working conditions in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is the world’s second largest exporter of apparel. The ready-made garment (RMG) industry has made a significant contribution to the country’s social and economic development by providing a primary source of livelihood for over four million workers, mostly women.

However, this remarkable achievement was undermined by several fatal industrial accidents in 2012 and 2013 that claimed the lives of over 1,200 workers and highlighted the need for a comprehensive effort to enhance workplace safety in the RMG sector.

The ILO Programme on Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Sector was initiated to support actions identified in the National Tripartite Plan of Action (NTPA) on Fire Safety & Building Integrity which was developed in close collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh along with employers’ and workers ‘organizations.

The first phase of the ILO RMG programme (October 2013 - June 2017) saw the inspection of 1,549 garment factories for structural, fire and electrical safety; increased capacity of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE); training of over 800,000 garment workers on occupational safety and health; reintegration of 300 Rana Plaza survivors into the workforce through livelihood and psychosocial support; and the launch of Better Work Bangladesh, a partnership between the ILO and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

To build on the achievements of the first phase, the programme rolled into its second phase in July 2017. The second phase covers four strategic areas which include ensuring factory safety through remediation; governance building to effectively regulate industrial safety and support labour inspection reform; improving OSH in both policy and practice; and expansion of Better Work Bangladesh to ensure compliance in at least 400 RMG factories.

The programme is jointly funded by the Governments of Canada, the Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Interview of Tuomo Poutiainen :RMG programme update | February 2017