The International Labor Organization (ILO) has expressed interest in working with Dhaka to ensure the safety of Bangladesh’s factories. In this case, Bangladesh has sought technical assistance from the Geneva-based organization. The ILO showed interest after a fire at the Hashem Foods factory in Rupganj, Narayanganj, killed 52 people.
Foreign Secretary Masood bin Momen and Labor Secretary KM Abdus Salam held a virtual discussion on Monday afternoon with Martha E. Newton, Deputy Director General for Policy at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva. There has also been talk of avoiding incidents like Rupganj in the future.
Foreign Ministry officials told Prothom Alo that after the horrific fire at the Hashem Foods factory, new discussions have started on the working environment and labor situation of the factories outside the ready-made garment industry. The issue of the fire has been discussed not only in the ILO but also in the international arena. Rana Plaza was the ‘awakening message’ for the garment industry in Bangladesh. Similarly, the fire of Hashem Foods can be considered as a wake-up call for change in the industry outside the garment industry.
When asked, Foreign Secretary Masood bin Momen told Prothom Alo, “The ILO wants to work to improve the safety and labor standards of organizations outside our garment industry. Bangladesh also wants to work with the ILO. We want technical cooperation from them. They will help us in the future as well as in the past. Since the work is extensive, who needs the kind of cooperation, has to come up with a plan. It will take time. ‘
According to the Foreign Secretary, in the context of Bangladesh’s desire to diversify its exports, it is important to ensure the rights and protection of workers. It is important to take necessary steps to overcome the limitations of the industries other than the ready-made garment industry. Otherwise, in the event of an accident in the future, the European Union, the United States and the ILO will be more vocal on issues. Due to the scale of the accident at the Narayanganj factory, it is being discussed extensively internationally. So we have to start working for Bangladesh to take action quickly.
Meanwhile, according to meeting sources, the ILO has raised the issue of showing child laborers as adults even though they are working in a factory in Narayanganj. It has also been commented that these issues should be investigated.