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Bangladesh government needs to define satisfactory wage level for RMG workers

The government of Bangladesh needs to define a wage level that can help satisfy the basic needs of workers in the readymade garment (RMG) sector and periodically review it to adjust it with the real prices, said Nazma Akter, General Secretary and Executive Director of the Awaz Foundation. And only through sufficient inspection and legal capacities, decent payment can be enforced, she added. She was quoting the report titled ‘The Workers’ Voice Report 2016’.

It is important to bring all the stakeholders together and identify their responsibilities and roles in improving working conditions, the report mentioned. The government, employers, workers and international buyers need to jointly address the manifold challenges in eliminating work deficits, providing a more effective regulatory environment and establish institutionalised multi-stakeholder cooperation, the report reads further.

The survey revealed some challenging working conditions in the factories, which can only be addressed in a multi-stakeholder approach. There has been progress in some of the indicators in comparison to 2013. However, the much-invoked paradigm shift after RanaPlaza did not materialise, it said.

With the gap between male and female workers laid bare in this study, gender equality analysed as a crosscutting objective has been identified as the primary challenge. Private governance based on voluntary external audits and internal codes of conduct has proven ineffective to substantially change the conditions in Bangladesh’s RMG factories. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety operated by mostly European retailers and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a group of North American retailers, have been conducting a series of inspections with little progress though as confirmed by other studies.

 
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