For Bangladesh’s export-oriented ready-made garment (RMG) industry, the Employment Injury Scheme (EIS Pilot) has emerged as a lifeline for workers, says the Ethical Trading Initiative, as it employs comprehensive data gathering and learning mechanisms to respond effectively to occupational accidents, diseases, and rehabilitation needs.

The financial commitment of brands and retailers that have signed up to the scheme such as the likes of H&M, Primark, Amazon, C&A, Puma, Decathlon, Giorgio Armani and VF Corp translates to $19,000 annually from a brand with an RMG export volume of $100m.

By focusing on compensating for work-related injuries, the initiative aims to help those facing adversity, extending support to the permanently disabled and the families of deceased workers.

Monthly payments and pensions provided, adhere to international labour standards (ILO Convention No. 121).

Collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German Technical Cooperation Agency, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) underscores the collective effort to support the EIS Pilot initiative.

GIZ and the ILO offer technical assistance to the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE), social partners, and other stakeholders to ensure effective implementation. ETI, in conjunction with businesses, NGOs, and trade unions, plays a pivotal role in creating workplaces where human rights are respected and workers are treated with dignity.

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Aligned with the vision of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), the EIS Pilot aims to promote workers’ rights, ensure decent working conditions in Bangladesh’s complex RMG sector, provide financial security, ensure basic needs can still be met amid grief and offer peace of mind to weather the storm of unforeseen tragedies.

One+All, an ETI company member, is among the early participants in the EIS scheme. Ken Edgar, overseas director commented: “Taking part is the right thing for us, giving greater reassurance to our workers, should they suffer an accident or worse.

“Our relationship with ETI is critical in steering us to make ongoing improvements for our workers, and we want to encourage more RMG sector brands to step forward and commit to the EIS scheme.” 

According to local news reports last week, around 500 garment workers from Anlima Textile Limited in Bangladesh have been protesting the “unfair” termination of their co-workers and non-payment of their arrears which has led to the “indefinite” closure of the factory.