Bangladesh's RMG sector 'much safer' now, says US ambassador

Bangladesh’s RMG sector is much safer than in 2013 when the Rana Plaza disaster occurred, said US ambassador Marcia Bernicat. She added that Bangladesh has made progress on workplace safety, especially with the support of buyer-led initiatives like the Accord and the Alliance, and it must do a better job at marketing the dramatic improvements.


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Bernicat was speaking at a press conference on Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the BGMEA Institute of Fashion & Technology (BUFT)’s journalism study tour through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) entitled ‘Economic and Labor Reporting’.

“We must all recognise that there is still work to be done on factory and building safety, that we must continue our efforts to ensure remediated factories stay safe, and that new workers are properly trained on safety practices. I urge BGMEA and the government of Bangladesh to come to a quick resolution on the Accord and Alliance’s extensions in Bangladesh. Delays in approving their extensions will send a negative signal to buyers and consumers that Bangladesh is not committed to workplace safety,” added the US ambassador.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank BGMEA for its work to propose significant reforms the Bangladesh Labor Act and the EPZ Labor Law. Recent proposals that have been discussed are movement in the right direction, but I call on BGMEA and the government of Bangladesh to do more to truly meet international standards, as recommended by the International Labor Organization (ILO),” she continued.

BGMEA and the government of Bangladesh are at a critical juncture as Bangladesh prepares to graduate from least developed country status in 2024, having already met all three criteria required for this important step. Ahead of the International Labor Conference on May 28 and the Sustainability Compact on June 25, I encourage BGMEA and the government of Bangladesh to seize the moment and resolve the long-standing labour rights concerns now, so that Bangladesh can focus on preparing for its future as a middle income country and, eventually, a developed country,” concluded Bernicat.

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