National President Bob Kingston is part of a Canadian labour delegation in Bangladesh to observe changes introduced in that country’s ready-made garment (RMG) industry following the Rana Plaza factory collapse, killing over 1100 workers , and the Tazreen factory fire, killing more than 150 workers
Brother Kingston is one of three PSAC representatives on the 11-person study group. He was asked to join the delegation because of his longstanding involvement and expertise with workplace health and safety issues.
The textile and clothing sectors are hugely important to the south Asian country. Over four million people, mostly women, work in the $19-billion RMG industry, which generates over 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s export income.
However, Bangladesh successfully competes in the global RMG market through very low labour costs and often dangerous working conditions. International pressure following a recent series of tragic factory fires and building collapses led industry stakeholders to agree to adhere to an Accord on fire and building safety.
The Canadian delegation will meet to discuss the health and safety challenges and compliance issues faced by the Bangladeshi industry and to see if there is anything that can be done to help workers there.