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Bangladesh launches new Remediation Coordination Cell

From now on, Bangladesh will take care of the remediation of more than 4,000 garment factories on its own, at least according to state minister for labour and employment, Mujibul Haque. He said at the the inaugural ceremony of the Remediation Coordination Cell in Dhaka last Sunday that the the tenure of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety need not to be extended - both are running out next year.

“The remediation of all garment factories must be completed as quickly as possible, and the Remediation Coordination Cell will make a major contribution to this goal,” said Mujibul Haque at the event.

The new Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) is a national initiative, which will monitor and coordinate the post inspection remedial work at Bangladesh's garment factories from now on and thus the safety of millions of garment workers. It is supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) with funding from Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

However, initially the RCC will focus on only 1,293 factories but according to the ILO, this number is likely to rise as new factories are established and enter the national initiative and others exit the Accord or the Alliance. It would be useful if the new initiative would cover those factories that so far slipped through the net of either initiative.

The RCC will be staffed and supported by members of local regulatory bodies like the department of inspections for factories and establishments, the fire service and civil defense, the public agency responsible for coordinating urban development in Dhaka (RAJUK), the chief electrical inspector and the public works department. They will be supported by private sector engineers who will provide technical expertise for remediation follow-up.

However, there was no mention if the RCC would - like the Bangladesh Accord and the Alliance - address issues that go beyond worker safety and remediation efforts but that are no less crucial for improving the RMG sector in Bangladesh. Current concerns are fair wages for garment workers, health care for workers and their families and initiatives like (anonymous) helplines where workers can report all kinds of problems like sexual harrassment at the workplace, violence and intimidation tactics, financial abuse and others.

Photo: Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety