On May 18, 2017, the Partners of the Sustainability Compact – the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), the European Union (EU), the United States of America (USA), Canada, and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) – met for the third follow-up meeting. Sustainability Compact on Readymade Garment and Knitwear Industry in Bangladesh was formed by Bangladesh and European Union after Rana Plaza disaster to ensure workplace safety, workers’ rights and responsible business conduct. The US and Canada later joined it. Here are the six things you should know about the meeting.
Call for ensuring freedom of association in the RMG sector: Sustainability Compact partners underscored the need for adequate protection against the anti-union activities, Bangladesh’s English-language daily, New Age reported. The report also said that the Partners recognize the urgent need to begin inclusive consultations towards the amendment of the Bangladesh Labour Act (BLA) and associated regulations to address the conclusions and recommendations of the ILO’s supervisory bodies. The Compact partners especially the European Union, the US and Canada called upon the government of Bangladesh to review urgently the complaints pending against trade union leaders at Ashulia industrial area.
Dhaka presses for fair prices: In the review meeting, Bangladesh pressed for better prices for its readymade garment products for further improvement of the situation with regards to the rights of workers and their safety at workplaces, the Independent newspaper reported. “When you talk about improvement, you also keep in mind the issue of the fair pricing,” the report quoted Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed as saying at the conclusion of the third follow-up meeting on Bangladesh Sustainability Compact at a hotel in Dhaka.
Private initiatives encouraged for safer RMG factories: The partners of the Sustainability Compact have encouraged private initiatives to remain engaged with the government and renew their commitments to work for safer RMG factories in Bangladesh during the coming years, news agency UNB reported.
EPZ Labour Law: US urges BD to adopt ILO’s proposal : The United States has urged the government to adopt the ILO’s recommendation to remove the portions of the draft EPZ labour law referring to freedom of association and adopt instead the existing Bangladesh Labour Act, daily Observer reported. “We firmly believe that this proposal from the ILO is a reasonable and practical suggestion, and represents an improvement on the current draft,” the report quoted US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat as saying.
US praises Bangladesh for establishing TCC: US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat congratulated the stakeholders on establishing the Tripartite Consultative Committee (TCC) and urged all to use this new mechanism to build trust, the daily Observer reported. “The Tripartite Consultative Committee (TCC), once it is fully operational, is a promising step to address industrial relations broadly and to improve social dialogue between workers, factory owners, and the government,” she said in the third review meeting of Sustainability Compact.
Strengthening Department of Labour : The Sustainability Compact partners underlined the importance of upgrading the Department of Labour (DoL) with staff and resources.