Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety

English

Statement From Former Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher

Translation in Bengali

WASHINGTON, D.C. — I am pleased to be in Dhaka this week with the President and Board of Directors of The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. We are here to further our goal of improving worker safety in Bangladeshi ready-made garment factories. Upon The Alliance’s formation ten weeks ago, we set out to bring transparent, sustainable, measurable solutions...

to the workers through the Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative. We understand the complexity of the challenges that surround this industry, and we are acutely aware that that there is no simple remedy to solve the problems facing Bangladeshi garment factories. That is why The Alliance emphasizes and promotes collaboration among all stakeholders for we believe that the partnerships we have established – especially with government and civil-society in Bangladesh – will be critical to our successful work here. In meeting directly with government, worker representatives, and other non-governmental representatives this week, we continue to be encouraged by the shared sense of responsibility and purpose: that we are all working to improve the lives of workers in Bangladesh by bringing rapid, meaningful change. We appreciated the opportunity to share our progress, including the achievement of several milestones: i. First, we have prepared a common set of fire and building safety standards for garment factories in Bangladesh by working with fire and building safety experts. These standards align with the Bangladesh National Building Code and also support the National Tripartite Plan of Action. As part of the Alliance’s commitment to transparency and collaboration, the draft standards were presented at the ILO-convened meeting in Dhaka on September 7, and were shared in advance of that meeting with the ILO, the Accord, BGMEA, BUET, and the Bangladeshi Ministry of Labour and Employment. Our goal is to accelerate the identification of a common, shared set of standards that will ultimately result in making these factories safer. ii. Second, the Alliance has worked to develop a safety training curriculum framework that will be used with factory managers and employees. In addition, the Alliance is working to identify third parties in Bangladesh that can implement these training programs. iii. Third, as part of our commitment to improve worker empowerment, the Alliance has identified innovative technology solutions that will allow workers to anonymously report their safety concerns. iv. Fourth, the founding seventeen members of The Alliance have submitted their list of factories that they contract with in Bangladesh and shared that information with the Fair Factories Clearinghouse. We will be sharing this information with the Government of Bangladesh. We are grateful to those who hosted us this week for their time and commitment to collectively bring solutions to bear on behalf of Bangladeshi garment workers. We look forward to future visits and continued partnership to ensure sustainable change in Bangladesh.

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