The government has finalised the subcontracting guidelines for the country’s readymade garment sector, making it mandatory for the subcontracting factories to have membership of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association. in order to protect workers interest, industry sources said.

The commerce ministry issued the RMG sector subcontracting guidelines-2019 on May 27 seven years after the initiation of its formulation process.

Besides, they are also required to put in place safety measures for workers. The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has finalised a set of guidelines for subcontracting units as pressure was building on garment industry to bring subcontracting under cover of legal bindings following Tazreen Fashion tragedy six years ago.

The fire incident in factory on that occasion left at least 112 workers killed besides others left fatally injured. The newly MOC circular has asked the National Tripartite Plan of Action (NTP) on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity in RMG sector to ensure transparency in subcontracting system and owners accountability.

Under the new guidelines “Subcontracting factories have to be members of the concerned      trade associations like BGMEA, BKMEA and renew their licenses regularly.” It also asked the subcontracting factories to comply with the related law, rules and the government-approved checklist to protect workers’ rights.

It further said only factories affiliated with BGMEA and BKMEA can do the job of subcontracting and similarly only the compliant factories will be eligible for doing the job of subcontractors. They must pay the government-set minimum wages to workers and the structural designs of the subcontracting garment factories need to be approved by the authorities concerned.

Workers must have group insurance and employers must pay premiums on a regular basis.
The guidelines also require BGMEA and BKMEA to submit a report on the activities of subcontracting factories to commerce ministry and the National Board of Revenue in every six months. The government and trade bodies can suspend their services relating to production and export temporarily or permanently if any party violates the guidelines.

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