Fibre2Fashion: The subcontracting guidelines issued recently by the Bangladesh commerce ministry for the readymade garment (RMG) sector have made it mandatory for subcontracting factories to have membership of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).
The formulation of the guidelines started seven years ago. Following the devastating fire incident in a subcontracting factory, Tazreen Fashions Limited, in Dhaka in 2012 that killed more than 112 garment workers, mostly women, local and global rights groups raised their voices for formulating subcontracting guidelines to protect the interests of workers.
The commerce ministry issued the guidelines through a circular on May 27 this year to implement the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity in the Readymade Garment Sector in Bangladesh and ensuring transparency and accountability in the subcontracting business.
‘Structural Integrity’ was included in the plan after the Rana Plaza building collapse at Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on April 24, 2013, which killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers.
According to the guidelines, only compliant factories will be eligible for subcontracting and a written agreement between the exporter and factory authorities is mandatory for the job.
The government-set minimum wages will have to be ensured for the workers in the subcontracting factories and the structural designs of the factories will have to be approved by the authorities concerned.
The workers in subcontracting factories must be covered by group insurance and factory authorities will have to pay premium against the insurance on regular basis, the guidelines said.
Exporters will have to monitor the compliance situation in the subcontracting factories and take remedial measures of any deviation and to inform respective trade bodies about any nonconformity.
The guidelines also said the BGMEA and the BKMEA would submit separate reports on the activities of subcontracting factories to the ministry and the National Board of Revenue every six months.