Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday urged the BGMEA leaders to evolve an institutional mechanism to enhance the salaries of garment workers by a certain percentage every year to help them maintain a descent life. “The RMG workers’ salaries need to be increased by a certain percentage each year, and a mechanism to this end should have to be developed,” she said. The Prime Minister made the call when the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) met her at her office. BGMEA president Md Atiqul Islam led the delegation.
During the meeting, she put emphasis on creating a congenial working environment, including setting up of dormitories, ensuring Medicare facilities and daycare centers for the welfare of the workers as well as their children to utilise their maximum productivity and quality products.
Besides, she suggested the owners of the RMG factories to beef up their security measures and keep a strong vigil.
Suggesting the garment factory owners to relocate their factories outside Dhaka city, especially in the northern region, assuring them of all-out government support to this end, Hasina said, “You (factory owners) could relocate the factories outside Dhaka considering cheap land, labour and tax holiday facilities.”
She said the government would ensure a cheap and smooth communication network for transporting their products through river and railway routes.
The premier asked the garment manufacturers to conduct surveys to evaluate the structural strength of the existing factory buildings.
“We could assure you of extending all necessary cooperation to this end and unused funds from the SME sector could be used for the purpose.”
Besides, the Prime Minister laid emphasis on using the Mongla Port for exporting readymade garment factories and said necessary directives would be given to the authorities concerned to create necessary facilities to this end.
Stressing the need for setting up mills and factories with environment-friendly measures having the provision of nearby ponds and water bodies so that water could be available in case of any possible fire incident she said, “All will have to come out of this mentality of using every inch of land for constructing any infrastructure as there must be some open space and roads near the factory.”
Referring to the use of large generators and other heavy machineries on various floors of garments factories, the Prime Minister said the building should be constructed with load and vibration absorbing capacity to prevent recurrence of ‘Rana Plaza’ like building collapse in the future.
Describing various frantic efforts of her government in conducting rescue operation and rehabilitation of the dead and wounded workers at the Savar building collapse, Hasina said necessary measures would be taken so that those who lost their limbs could get at least Tk 10,000 to 12,000 monthly income to run their families.
Responding to the demand of forming a separate ministry for the apparel sector, the Prime Minister said the Textiles and Jute Ministry is solely responsible to look into the matters of apparel sector.
During the meeting, the BGMEA leaders proposed to construct a multistoried building on the land of Rana Plaza and said all the incomes generated from the building could be used for the welfare of injured garment workers.
Besides, they proposed setting up a memorial on the ground floor inscribing the names of all the deceased garment workers of Rana Plaza.
The BMGEA leaders said they would take necessary measures for the rehabilitation and arrangement of jobs for the injured garment workers and special arrangement would be made for those who lost their limbs.
They also informed the Prime Minister that generators of all garment factories would be set up on the ground floors in the garment factories to reduce the loads.
Besides, the owners of the factories were directed to submit the designs of their factories within May 30 and 12 engineers were recruited through Buet to oversee the matter, the BGMEA leaders said.
BGMEA second vice president SM Mannan Kochi, leaders Tipu Munshi and Abdus Salam Murshed were, among others, present.
Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Shaikh Md Wahid Uz Zaman and Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad were also present.
-With The Independent input