The new labour inspection strategy will help enhance Bangladesh as a sourcing destination

The new labour inspection strategy will help enhance Bangladesh as a sourcing destination

The development of Bangladesh's first ever labour inspection strategy took a step forward today (29 September) following the start of a consultation process on the contents of a draft.

Some 50 participants representing government ministries and regulatory agencies, employers' organisations, trade unions, brands and retailers, NGOS and development partners took part in the consultation, the first of a series of three that are planned.

"The Department of Inspections for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) has undergone considerable improvement in recent years," Mr Mujibul Haque Chunnu, State Minister for The Ministry of Labour and Employment, said at the event.

"The development of the labour inspection strategy will help set the direction for the next five years and is another important step in our efforts to develop a credible and effective inspection system for Bangladesh."

The primary purpose of the labour inspection strategy is to improve Bangladesh's current inspection system and the performance of its enforcement responsibilities in line with international labour standards and national legislation. The strategy identifies strategic priority areas and key measures to be undertaken over the next five years in these areas.

Once the strategy is adopted it will be used to direct the work of the DIFE. In addition it will help guide employers, worker organisations, buyers and foreign investors so that they better understand the labour inspection environment.

During the consultation, the need for the strategy to go beyond key export-oriented sectors was emphasised.

Mr Mikail Shipar, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment said: "While much importance has been placed on the ready-made garment (RMG) sector we must also seek to systematically widen the labour inspection process to other key industries as well as those operating in the domestic market."

Meanwhile, Gagan Rajbhandari, deputy director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Bangladesh added: "By clearly spelling out strategic priority areas and key measures over the next five years, confidence in Bangladesh's labour inspection system and as a sourcing destination will be enhanced."

The labour inspection strategy is expected to be finalised by December this year.

The consultation was organised by the Ministry of Labour and Employment with the support of ILO's Improving Working Conditions in the RMG sector programme funded by Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

In other recent developments, a new inspection checklist developed to collect information on Bangladesh ready-made garment factories marks another major step towards building a modern and transparent labour inspectorate in the country.

New factory checklist to boost Bangladesh labour inspection