On the aftermath of the Savar Tragedy and while rescue teams toil in the rubble for bodies of victims, the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) declared that it would take a proactive action in reforming the factories through a thorough investigation and other accountability measures.
On May 1, 2013, the BGMEA released a message to its long list of garment factories and advertised it on the most widely circulated National Dailies of Bangladesh. An image of the message as published in the leading Bangla news broadsheet “Prothom Alo” on May 1, 2013, is attached in this report.
The message of the BGMEA is translated below:
” ‘VERY URGENT ADVERTISEMENT’
The respected members of the BGMEA are hereby informed that, the Structural Design and Soil Test Report of all the garment factories must be submitted to the BGMEA within 30 May, 2013. If the above mentioned Design Drawing are not available then the natural condition of factory building, i.e. slab, column, beam and foundation size, number of rods and Soil Test Report, must be made by some certified engineering firm and submitted to the BGMEA in the mentioned time above.
As per this information provided by the BGMEA, it is quite natural for anyone to feel that a loophole remains in this process. Corruption in Bangladesh can easily allow factory owners to get themselves a certificate and submit it to the BGMEA, the same goes for the soil test. Although we do hope that none will go to the forbidden land of corruption, however, that is the most common place for some of our unfortunate garment owners as they most often fail to understand the relation that sustainability has with greater stake holder integration in the market.
Before this news, the BGMEA had clearly stated that they would take the responsibility of inspecting the factories themselves and ensure safety. However, that position seems to have come to a point of compromise with this statement.
Although the BGMEA is taking a move, which should be praised, however, unless such decisions are backed up by a practical and real change on the safety of the garment sector, they will help none.
The RISE Society.