Published: Monday, May 6, 2013

Editorial

Roadmap to RMG industry safety

Commitment is the nub of the issue

We note with satisfaction that a tripartite agreement to implement a plan of action which will prevent another Savar has been formulated. It is a good initiative indeed but, regrettably, comes in the aftermath of a tragedy whose ill-effects on the victims would take a very long time to heal, if at all, and its upshot on the RMG market will take very quick and comprehensive corrective measures to offset.
While we might well ask why not sooner, that such a plan involving the three major stake holders, the workers’ rights bodies, the manufacturers and the government has been contemplated is better late than never.
One of the good features of the plan, which is an extension of the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety in RMG Industry, is that it includes the matter of infrastructural safety of the factory buildings. Also, the issue of the workers’ right to organise trade unions, something that has been meeting stiff resistance so far, as well as the occupational safety and health of the workers, will be reflected in the proposed law that the government is going to put up in the next session of the parliament.
However, the crux of the matter, we feel, is the sincerity of the employers and the government in ensuring that the measures are implemented in full. It is all too well to formulate new laws and to increase the number of factory inspectors for example, but these would mean nothing if they did not deliver. And here we would like to reiterate the feelings of the Deputy Director ILO, under whose aegis the Tripartite Plan was formulated, that while it is one thing to have inspections, it is quite another to make the inspections credible.
The need is to put the roadmap in operation as soon as possible, since any delay would only increase the pressure that the RMG sector is under.