BGMEA has sent a rejoinder to the New York Times expressing its disagreement over several points in a report published in the New York Times on the RMG industry of Bangladesh. In a letter to the Editor, BGMEA President Dr. Rubana Huq clearly pointed out why the report does not reflect the reality of the apparel sector.
Perceptions cannot be the basis of journalism. Thus, I am writing this letter for expressing our disagreement over several points in a report published in the New York Times under the headline “After Factory Disaster, Bangladesh Made Big Safety Strides. Are the Bad Days Coming Back?”
1) RSC will not subscribe to any backsliding that will impact the safety of the sector. Proposed building codes are for all sector, not only RMG. As far as RMG goes, there won’t be any backsliding or compromise or amended protocol which poses any risk for workers’ safety. Much has been achieved and it’s time to sustain all that’s been achieved so far.
2) The report cites Rubana Huq, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) owns lingerie and sweater factories. Rather she owns shirts, sweaters and briefs factories.
3. It also mentioned that the Ready Made Garments Sustainability Council would be legally binding, but in reality it is not.
3) Nirapon, with whom BGMEA now is having discussions, have appointed 26 agents, with differing costs and eligibility. BGMEA is simply looking at the costs and negotiating with the agents offering the services.
4) The report cites the comment of Peter McAllister, the executive director of the Ethical Trading Initiative, who has always had best things to say about our progress but unfortunately maybe only one line that suited the purpose of shaming the progress has been taken out of context and has been printed.
5) The accident mentioned at the outset of the report has nothing to do with boiler. It was a completely different explosion of a cylinder of CNG that was in the factory and is often used for multiple purposes and users throughout Bangladesh.
6) Also Walmart is ok with Accord’s safety standard and has incorporated in their supplier guidelines issued in Dec 2019 that any factory that is in good standing with Accord will be ok and have asked for continuation of training.
Bangladesh has made unprecedented progress towards safety and while other countries are sliding back and are facing up to 2 accidents a month (a recent occurrence) eyes are still on Bangladesh, which seems to be attracting negative attention just because we have a much more approachable posturing and transparency.