The International Labour Organisation has urged Bangladesh to complete the remediation process in the garment sector as soon as possible to save the sector from any future catastrophe. It may be remembered that remediation is only part one, a lot of factories are investing and fixing their safety issues on their own, said Srinivas Reddy, Country Director of the UN agency at a roundtable at The Daily Star Centre in Dhaka.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and The Daily Star jointly organised a seminar on the garment exporters’ target to reach $50 billion in exports by 2021.Reddy said respect for labour rights, continuous social dialogue and investment in people are crucial for sustainability of the country’s garment sector.
The ILO official requested factory owners to hear workers’ viewpoints on a regular basis and have a culture of cooperation. Workers have to be made a partner in progress. International standards should be followed in all issues, whether it is freedom of association or collective bargaining, he added.
According to Mohan Seneviratne, a Program Manager at International Finance Corporation, garment makers and retailers should also focus on environmental sustainability in Bangladesh as the level of water in Dhaka has been depleting by 2.5 meters every year for higher consumption by the industries. As of December 2015, 102 BGMEA member factories have adopted modern technologies under a program called ‘Partnership for Cleaner Textiles’ focused on the wet dyeing and finishing sector, sponsored by the Dutch government, 10 brands, IFC, BGMEA and Solidaridad. These factories have saved 14 billion liters of water in a year, according to Seneviratne.