Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is going to introduce ‘service book’ within three months among its member units to document detailed information of the apparel workers.
The apparel apex body will also introduce the data base-regionally and centrally and BGMEA will centrally monitor the activities.
The association will stop providing further service to the factories that will fail to ensure the introduction of the service book within the stipulated time.
“We have already written to all our members in this regard,” BGMEA President 
Atiqul Islam told the Financial Express (FE) on Monday.
We are committed to doing the task by June with an aim to keep records of all the workers including their social and employment conditions in details, he said adding it will help to pinpoint the compliance standard of a unit and take necessary action for further improvement.
The association will take harsh measures like suspension of services in case of failure in introducing the service within the stipulated time, he added.
“The main objective of introducing the book is to ensure transparency in the sector by collecting appropriate information that will enable the workers to establish their legal rights on controversial issues, if any,” an exporter said. 
The book will contain the basic information about a worker’s identification including family details, the record about the worker’s service details including the factory and employer, dates of his or her joining or leaving the job and the reasons. 
It will deal with records about a worker’s wage and other facilities including house rent, bonus and provident fund, information about a worker’s leave position and a worker’s general behaviour while on duty, he added.
According to the BGMEA, each worker will be given an identification number and software will be developed in the near future with all the records of the workers. 
The workers will be provided with an identity document and the service book will help him or her to negotiate with his employers about their legal rights, including wages. 
“Some 4.0 million skilled and semi-skilled workers are now employed in apparel sector and we hope this service book will help bring discipline in the apparel sector,” Mr Islam pointed out. 
The apparel factories will be divided into eight zones including Ashulia, Mirpur and Gazipur for the database, he said adding the information will be preserved in the local regional server.
When fifty factories of an area come under the local server, it will be centrally preserved in the BGMEA database, the BGMEA chief said.
The association has already tied up with two local companies in this regard. If any factory wants to create its own database, it needs to pay Tk 2.0 million while it would be done centrally at a cost about Tk 0.2 million.
There are about 5,500 listed factories in the country while 3600 are in operation, according to BGMEA. 
Earlier an emergency general meeting of the association in December last took some decisions including implementation of the service book, data base in all factories against the backdrop of the country’s worst ever industrial blaze in Tazreen that claimed 112 workers’ lives and injured several others.
BBN/SSR/AD-03Apr13-12:25 am (BST)