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Bangladesh: Most RMG factories reach total compliance

Bangladesh has some 4,500 readymade garment factories and nearly all of these will be shortly compliant. By next June the process is expected to be complete. Before the Rana Plaza tragedy garment factories focused only on child labor, limiting working hours, wages for overtime duties and on achieving technical compliance like fire extinguishers, gloves, boots, helmets for workers.

However, after the disaster, stakeholders went ahead with structural, fire and electrical safety, which was almost zero in their vision earlier. Factories now use proper electrical cables. Safety standards in the industry as well as the well being of workers are being monitored.

Now factories are inspected jointly by experts supported by ILO and the buyers’ platforms Accord and Alliance. Bangladesh now has 67 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) factories, certified by the United States Green Building Council, of which 13 are platinum. Seven out of world’s top 13 LEED certified factories are in Bangladesh and 280 more are in the pipeline for getting certification.

Meanwhile the labor law was amended in July 2013 and another revision of the law is in progress. A workers’ welfare fund has been created to which the garment industry alone contributed around 10 million dollars last fiscal year.