ILO, GIZ to enhance social security for RMG workers
Workers in the export-oriented ready-made garment (RMG) sector are set to get enhanced social security through income protection following the launch of a new International Labour Organization (ILO) initiative in collaboration with the Netherlands and Germany (GIZ).
The ILO in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) officially launched the Pilot of an Employment Injury Scheme Project by way of a Launch Ceremony, on Tuesday.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Private Industry and Investment Salman F Rahman, MP inaugurated the event in presence of Secretary, MoLE Md. Ehsan-E- Elahi, Country Director of ILO Tuomo Poutiainen, and higher officials from the German, Norway and Netherlands Embassy.
Senior representatives from Bangladesh Garment manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Workers' Associations, development partners and other national stakeholders also participated in the ceremony.
The Chief Guest Salman F Rahman, MP, said: "Social Security is high on the agenda of Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina."
ILO-CO-Bangladesh Director Tuomo Poutiainen at the inauguration highlighted ILO's approach towards improved social protection for workers in Bangladesh.
In his speech, he mentioned that "The launch of 'Employment Injury Protection' scheme for RMG Workers in Bangladesh is an important and historic step in strengthening accident protection in the country.
"ILO is happy to support this effort and work with the Government, Employers and Workers to create a modern and contemporary compensation system for workers and their families that protect their incomes and living when they need it the most. Such a system also promotes sustainable business practices and provides right kind of signals to investors; as Bangladesh is step by step upgrading its social protection systems for the benefit of all."
Keeping in mind that workers in the ready-made garments industry play a remarkable role in the country's growing GDP, it is important to consider their rights and security on priority.
This facility will be expanded to other economic sectors upon success of the EIS-Pilot. Since 2013, ILO and GIZ have been working together with the Government of Bangladesh and industry partners for ensuring workers' social and financial security.
As a continuation of the process, after having several tripartite consultations, the Government of Bangladesh has decided to introduce a periodic payment scheme for occupational injuries, disabilities and deaths in the RMG industry.
Labour and Employment Secretary Md. Ehsan-E-Elahi said: "It is a historical day for as we launch the first-ever social insurance scheme, as envisioned in the 'National Social Security Strategy'. We have the privilege to ensure that the pilot is designed in line with the 'International Labour Standards', taking the national settings into consideration."
Speaking at the event BGMEA President Faruque HassanA said: "As we are committed to ensuring the safety, dignity and well-being of our workers, we look forward to collaborating in initiatives that benefit our industry and workers."
Ms Shamim Ara, President of NCCWE; Bas Blaauw, First Secretary, Embassy of the Kingdom of Johannes Schneider, Head of Development Cooperation from the German Embassy also spoke.