Comprehensive virtual safety and training packages targeted at preparing and maintaining safer workforces and workplaces during and post-pandemic to be rolled out.
The International Labour Organization (ILO), in partnership with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) has launched a comprehensive safety and training package to help the RMG industry in Bangladesh better protect and monitor workers and working conditions during COVID-19.
“Our joint response is focused on providing best practices to RMG factories to support a safe and stable return for their workers,” said Tuomo Poutiainen, ILO Country Director. “The ILO is also working with other sectors, as well as the government and workers representatives to ensure that this critical and timely information reaches as many workers as possible.”
As more and more workers return to work, the RMG Learning Hub will focus on three core areas: raising COVID-19 prevention awareness among workers and factory management, ensuring COVID-19 Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) preparedness guidelines are being followed and continuing to promote strong social dialogue in the workplace.
“This joint COVID-19 industry response between employers and the ILO sets a significant landmark in our efforts to protect workers lives and livelihoods,” said BGMEA President Dr. Rubana Huq. “The BGMEA is wholly committed to facilitating and scaling up this project and applauds the ILO for steering this timely and important initiative.”
Developed by the ILO, the Learning Hub will serve as a one-stop virtual platform and has been made possible through $750,000 of financial support from Sweden and Denmark. An additional $250,000 has been contributed by several existing ILO funding partners, namely: Australia, Canada, the European Union (EU), Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, US Department of Labor (USDOL) and the Department for International Development (UK Aid).
The first phase of the one-year initiative (July 2020 – June 2021) will start with the virtual training of 150 BGMEA and BKMEA-nominated master trainers followed by a ‘training of the trainers’ rollout. Once the current situation permits, the safety training sessions will be physically rolled out to BGMEA and BKMEA factories.
“The safety of our workers and supervisors is the utmost priority during this pandemic. I hope the virtual trainings will be an effective tool to enhance the capacity of the trainees and help the RMG industry overcome the ongoing crisis,” said BKMEA President A.K.M Salim Osman during the virtual launch.
The ILO will also offer the same package of COVID-19 safety training for master trainers from the Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF), the government and leading workers organisations, including Workers Resource Centre (WRC), National Coordination Committee for Workers Education (NCCWE) and IndustriALL.