Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– The United States is working with all major stakeholders of apparel and clothing sector for ensuring workers’ safety and labour rights in Bangladesh, a top US official said in Dhaka on Friday.
“As part of our commitment to help build a strong “Brand Bangladesh” that is respected worldwide, we are working with the government, brands, factory owners, and unions to help build respect for workers’ safety and labor rights here,” Wendy Sherman, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, said while addressing at the fourth US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue held in Dhaka on Friday.
She also said Bangladesh’s thriving garment sector will be the engine that drives that growth and helps Bangladesh reach that goal.
The garment sector can help lift millions more Bangladeshis out of extreme poverty and, as it moves up the value chain, can bring many billions more dollars into Bangladesh’s economy,” she noted.
A lot of progress has been made on that front in the last two years: the government has registered more than 250 new unions, created a public online database of factories, and begun training over 100 new labor inspectors, among many other accomplishments, according to the US official.
She also said much still remains to be done: union organizers and leaders still face harassment and even physical violence. “Their work is important to ensuring the sustainability of Bangladesh’s garment sector, so we hope that industry and government can work together to end these tactics of intimidation.”
The United States is Bangladesh’s largest single-country importer of garments. “But our business ties go beyond just clothing. Companies such as Chevron and Coca-Cola are among the many U.S. businesses looking to invest in Bangladesh.”
The US official also said: “We’re very supportive of increased investment, and we’re confident that a level playing field in Bangladesh will attract even more U.S. businesses.”