A recent study published by ActionAid found that nearly 57% of the survivors of the disaster are still unemployed
Bangladeshi garment manufacturers have learned a lesson from the Rana Plaza tragedy and are aware of the future course of action to prevent such an incident, Faruque Hassan said yesterday.
The president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) made the statement to the media when discussing a recent study published by ActionAid on the current state of Rana Plaza tragedy survivors.
“We have learned a lesson from the Rana Plaza tragedy. The damages of the tragedy have yet to be compensated, but we have worked to provide financial assistance and medical treatment to everyone. Even then, if anyone does not get it, we will take action if it comes to our notice,” said Faruque.
A recent study published by ActionAid found that nearly 57% of the survivors of the disaster are still unemployed.
ActionAid Bangladesh disclosed the findings on Thursday at a virtual dialogue titled “COVID-19: Challenges for the Rana Plaza Tragedy Survivors,” organized in memory of the eighth anniversary of the tragedy.
The survey was conducted among 200 survivors, 12% of whom have returned to the RMG sector, while another 12% are involved in tailoring.
Although 43% of the survivors are engaged in waged labour and self-employment, due to deteriorating health conditions, they have to make a living by changing work from time to time. The health condition of 14% of the survivors is worsening.
Rana Plaza was the worst disaster ever in the Bangladeshi apparel industry that left at least 1,136 people dead and more than 2,500 people injured — some crippled for life.
“Rana Plaza was a big lesson for us. We faced that tragedy as we had rented a building for setting up factories without knowing much about its structure. After the disaster, we started working on the factory environment. Now there are several quality factories with the necessary compliance,” Faruque said.
He added that they want to see what percentage of the survivors have not been compensated yet, how many are still unemployed or have changed jobs.
“Because, as far as we have received the information, the authorities are working on compensating all of them,” the BGMEA president further said.
Faruque Hassan told the media that if people change their profession, it is their personal choice.
“The BGMEA has nothing to do here. But the BGMEA has taken several initiatives to arrange work for the injured workers of the Rana Plaza tragedy,” he said.
“We cannot go back in time before the Rana Plaza tragedy, but we can take sufficient measures to prevent such incidents from happening again,” Faruque added.
He said that RMG manufacturers have been submitting building structure papers in the case of rented factories and have been putting in the effort to build worker-friendly factories for the past eight years.
“We have to do it for our interest, for the interests of the workers, and the interests of the country,” he also said.
Asked what the position of the BGMEA is on the departure of Accord and Alliance, Faruque said: “I hope we can perfectly ensure the industry and workers safety.
“We have already formed the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) to carry on their work. RSC is represented by all three fronts — the RMG manufacturers, global brands and retailers, and global federations of trade unions,” he stated.
The Bangladeshi RMG industry has made significant improvements in workplace safety, he said, adding that 1,600 garment factories are covered by the RSC.
“I think that under the RSC, we can collectively ensure the workers’ and industry’s safety,” he added.