Digital Garment Worker Database Launched

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh inaugurated the “Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) worker database”[1] for the RMG Industry workers of Garment Manufacturers who are a member of this apex trade body that represents the export oriented woven, knit and sweater garment manufacturers and exporters of the country.

On 9 March 2013, BGEMA signed two agreements with two organizations on issuance of digital certificate of origin (CoO) and biometric identity of garment workers. These two organizations were Information Solutions Limited (ISL) and Systech- Tiger IT.

This worker database will be completely online, and will allow its members and other stake holders to review and use this tool for their purposes.

BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin and ISL Managing Director Syed Shapir Khasru signed the memorandum of understanding from their respective sides for issuing digital CoO.

Systech-Tiger IT will assist the BGMEA for creating a database to preserve the information of workers including biometric identity. Managing Director and CEO M Rashidul Hasan and BGMEA President signed the agreement on their respective side [2].

After the launch, the database is being updated regularly with inflowing information.

According to BGMEA authorities, the “BGMEA Worker Database” is aimed to automate the RMG industry and its 3 million workers using modern technology. This database stores and update data of all RMG factories and employee’s personal & employment history and issues high-tech chip based ID card for each employee. This system will help to identify real RMG worker to facilitate them and to help in proper migration system to stop restlessness in the leading GDP contributor RMG industry of Bangladesh [3].

However, it is interesting to note that most of the unrest occurs in factories during subcontracting, or factories which are purely subcontractors. These subcontractors rarely have a legal basis of work, and they are thus not registered with the BGMEA.

Among the 3,500-odd active garment factories, at least 500 run purely on a subcontract basis, according to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) [4].

The remaining 3,000-odd factories also produce garments on subcontracts when they have no orders of their own [4].

Also, there are several hundred non-BGMEA factories engaged in subcontract activities [4].

These workers hired for subcontracting are arguably the biggest pool of garment workforce in Dhaka and across Bangladesh. Unfortunately, they are not only unregistered, but they also go missing from the list of workers whose rights can be secured, as to have a right one must exist as a worker.

Although, undoubtedly, the new digital database system will surely add to the efficiency of the garment sector of Bangladesh, however the room to make it more effective to ensure prosperity and transparency is clearly abundant.

Since Tazreen Fashions and Smart Fashions fire, it has become a very serious matter to ensure safety and legality of a factory so that its activities can be monitored and the lives of those who work there can be protected. BGMEA surely does have an opportunity to champion the cause of human rights through overcoming the statistical and legal challenge, and open the gates for further economical progress of this country.

Website Snapshot

Website Snapshot

Reference:

[1] BGMEA Garment Workers Database: http://www.garmentworker.com.bd

[2] The Financial Express Bangladesh, 10/03/2013. http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/index.php?ref=MjBfMDNfMTBfMTNfMV85MF8xNjI2ODE=

[3] PM Inaugurated BGMEA worker databse, 10/03/2013. http://www.bgmea.com.bd/home/pages/PM_Inaugurated_BGMEA_Worker_Database#.UTzZG1eWbDc

[4] The Daily Star, 04/02/2013. http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=267704

The RISE Society.

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Posted in Garment Worker Issues

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