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Bangladesh: RMG trade union members learn safety, skill trainingFriday, September 26, 2014 > 10:27:16
Trade union members will be better placed to enhance conditions in the Ready-made Garment (RMG) sector following a week-long training programme designed to increase their organisational capacity and involvement in occupational safety committees.
Two training events entitled ‘Strategic Planning Programme for Women Trade Union Leaders in the RMG Sector’ and ‘Enhancing Workers’ Participation in Occupational Safety and Health Committees’ are being held back to back in the city. The first one began on Tuesday while the second on Wednesday which will end on September 26.
ILO’s Improving Working Conditions in the RMG sector Programme which is funded by Canada, the Netherlands and the UK are hosting the training sessions.
The training was provided by the ITC (International Training Centre) Turin and ACTRAV-ILO (Bureau for Workers' Activities), said a press release.
During the sessions, some 35 women trade union leaders and organisers affiliated with the National Coordination Committee for Workers' Education (NCCWE) learned about women’s rights and working conditions, freedom of association, collective bargaining and labour administration.
They also gained practical knowledge and skills on union organisation that will enable them to educate and organise workers at factory level in order to improve working conditions in the RMG sector.
“The workforce in the RMG sector is predominantly female. It is therefore crucial that women are trained to take leadership roles in order to make their voices heard when it comes to improving working conditions. One of the ways that this can be done is through strengthening women’s involvement and leadership in trade unions,” said ILO Bangladesh Country Director Srinivas B Reddy.
Meanwhile, another 35 trade union members learned how to play a greater role in Occupational Safety and Health committees.
During interactive sessions, they studied how to identify hazards in the workplace and also gained an understanding of standards and guidelines concerning safety and health policies and systems.
In addition, the participants in both training events learned and practiced interactive techniques to pass on their knowledge to other staff in the work place.
“Following the Rana Plaza collapse, occupational safety and health has become the number one priority in the RMG sector. Unions have a vital role to play in this regard as they are able to pass on skills to the workforce while also engaging with the employers regarding safety concerns. These training events will help build capacity of union staff and organisers to and we look forward to replicating this type of training on a wider scale in the future,” Reddy said.
The three-and-a-half-year Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-made Garment (RMG) Sector Programme focuses on improving RMG factory building safety, workers’ rights and overall working conditions in Bangladesh. The initiative will run until December 2016.
The RMG sector is integral to the Bangladeshi economy, with an estimate of 3,500 export factories in operation, providing employment for over 4.2 million workers. Industry exports totalled $21.5 billion in 2012-2013, making Bangladesh one of the world's leading apparel exporters.