The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) supports an amendment to the Bangladesh EPZ Labour Act that would permit trade unions and other worker rights, US and EU authorities also want this.
All sectors should have equal rights, according to the group that oversees the clothing industry, and the BGMEA is dedicated to upholding worker responsibility and human rights.
At a Press conference on Saturday, Faruque Hassan, the president of the BGMEA, revealed this while answered questions from the media.
The issue is that foreign businesses who invest in Export Promotion Zones (EPZs) do not want this, he continued. “We believe that workers have rights to form trade unions worldwide.
He also said that the government has set up the EPZ through the prescription of foreigners and the authority also provided some extra facilities to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“We also urged the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) to amend the law to grant rights to organize unions but foreign investors are interfering,” he added.
He also said that they are working on putting the “Bangladesh-e Toiri” tag in Bangla on the exported RMG products along with “Made in Bangladesh”.
“We are hopeful that from January 1, 2024, all RMG products manufactured in Bangladesh will have this text on the label,” he added.
Regarding the minimum wage board, he said that they’ve already submitted three names to the Labor Ministry in response to their requirement. Once the ministry forms, apparel manufacturers voluntarily embrace the new pay.
In response to a query, he stated that due to its graduation from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) category, Bangladesh will continue to benefit from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) treatment from the EU, the United Kingdom, and other nations until 2029.
However, the trade association intends to prolong it at least until 2032, and the government is also backing their idea.
They have already met with the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), senior EU officials, and the UK’s appropriate authority in this regard.
“Our objective is clear, after LDC graduation we do not want to take the punishment (impose responsibility) due to the development trap. We might easily enter the global market as competitors if we can keep the GSP till 2032,” he said.
He also added: “Firstly, we are facing an economic crisis due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and secondly, Bangladesh accepted 1.3 million Rohingya refugees, which is one of the highest ever refugee acceptances in the world.”
Therefore the global community should increase the GSP tenure for Bangladesh considering these issues.