Home RMG Good News RMG Action Plan fulfilled

RMG Action Plan fulfilled

Govt updates USTR-led team on progress in 16-point conditions

The government has informed a visiting US delegation that it has fulfilled all the 16 conditions of the Action Plan prescribed by the US to improve workers’ rights and safety at garment factories. The government has also shut down some 364 apparel units for lack of sufficient safety measures to ensure workplace safety as part of the action plan aimed at reviving the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility. The US team was updated with the progress in implementation of the action plan at a meeting with a Bangladesh delegation led by Commerce Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon at the state guest house Meghna on Saturday. Assistant US Trade Representative for South Asia Michael J. Delaney is leading the US delegation in its five-day visit. “At the meeting, the USTR-led delegation was updated by the commerce secretary about the progress made in the areas of 16-point action plan. Bangladesh, meantime, fulfilled all the conditions,” reads a statement of the commerce ministry.  The USTR is involved in the process of reinstatement of GSP facility for Bangladesh, which was annulled by the US authority in June 2013 for concerns over labour rights and workplace safety following two deadly industrial disasters— fire at Tazreen Fashions and Rana Plaza collapse. The two disasters left some 1500 workers killed, and many workers with permanent disability and hundreds other with recoverable injuries. The US team arrived on Saturday on an official visit to Dhaka and Chittagong to observe the progress in implementation of the action plan by the government and joint efforts run by two major platforms of the retailers and buyers, rights bodies, trade unions and the ILO. The commerce secretary told the Assistant USTR that the government of Bangladesh has issued the labor rules on September 15 in light with the National Labour Act 2006 (amended in 2013) and advocacy given by the ILO, Alliance, Accord, industry owners and trade union leaders. To fulfill others conditions, appointment of factory inspectors were completed properly by Fire Service and Civil Defense, Office of the Industry Inspector and Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkhsa (RAJUK) for constant monitoring at industrial units to oversee the situation regarding workers’ rights. Some 3407 out of a total 3685 apparel factories were inspected by Accord and Alliance experts and found some 364 factories non-compliant and were sealed off, the commerce ministry said in the statement.The eight-member US delegation also comprises of Michael O’Donovan, Director for Labor Affairs of USTR, Bruce Levine, office director, democracy of Human Rights and Labor (DRL) under the U S Department of State and Jennifer Goodyear, International Relations Officer of International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) of the US Department of Labor (USDOL). Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Huq, Labour secretary Michael Shipper and officials of the Labor Directorate and Fire and Civil Service Directorate were also included in the Bangladesh delegation. During their visit, the delegation will meet with government officials, workers, trade unions and representatives of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Alliance on Bangladesh Worker Safety, the Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and other relevant organisations. They US team is also scheduled to travel to Chittagong to meet the authorities of Bangladesh Export Processing Zone, representatives from the shrimp processing sector, and other local organisations, the US Embassy earlier said in a statement. It also said the delegation seeks to learn more regarding the efforts by government of Bangladesh and other Bangladeshi actors in support of the Sustainability Compact and the GSP Action Plan. On September 23, the US delegation will meet Commerce Minister Tofael Ahmed before leaving Dhaka.