Australia, ILO team up to improve workplace for apparel workers

BDApparelNews Desk
8 May 2019  

Inside a garments industry in Bangladesh.

Inside a garments industry in Bangladesh.

Australia and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have strengthened their partnership to improve working conditions, advance women's economic potential and boost the competitiveness of Bangladesh's ready-made garment industry.

The partnership has been strengthened by the re-commitment of funds for Better Work Bangladesh as part of Australia's ongoing partnership with ILO to empower women and boost garment industry in Bangladesh, said a joint media release on May 5, 2019.

Better Work Bangladesh (BWB) is a joint programme of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Australia's ongoing support for the Better Work Bangladesh programme drives important changes to workplace safety in the garment industry, according to the media release, reports UNB.

"Alignment of the Bangladesh government, unions and employer organisations with the ILO supported Remediation Coordination Cell, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the Alliance-backed Nirapon Initiative will strengthen the garment industry," said Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Julia Niblett.

ILO Country Director for Bangladesh Tuomo Poutiainen said they are proud to be working with the Australian government who share their vision of uniting multiple stakeholders, promoting decent work for all and helping the garment industry in Bangladesh thrive.

"Better Work has made measurable impacts on the lives of millions of workers and their families. Now the challenge is to broaden our impact further. It is only by pooling our efforts and our expertise that we can create lasting, transformative change in the industry," he said.

IFC Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal Wendy Werner said IFC is committed to their partnership with ILO to promote career progression for female sewing operators through GEAR, Better Work's new training programme.

"With the support of the Australian government, we will continue to bridge the gender gap in leadership positions and create opportunities for women in the readymade garment sector - the backbone of Bangladesh's economy," she said.

The Australian government has been supporting BWB since 2016 and today the programme reaches 485,708 workers in 210 factories who work with 22 international brands, according to Australian High Commission in Dhaka.

During her visit to Bangladesh, Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls Dr Sharman Stone said, "Our commitment to fund this programme until June 2020 demonstrates Australia's support for industrial safety, labour law governance and women's economic empowerment in Bangladesh."