“Six years into our existence, the Better Work programme is having a significant and long-lasting impact on Bangladesh’s garment industry. We aim to support continuous improvement by working with our partners to create sustainable ownership of compliance and ensure improved working conditions.” Anne-Laure Henry-Gréard – Better Work Bangladesh Programme Manager
Better Work Bangladesh’s latest annual report highlights factories’ assessment results, improvement efforts, and key initiatives from the past year.
In 2019, 66 Worker-Management Participation Committees were formed and key improvements were made in areas such as Occupational Safety and Health and transparency on payroll records.
The garment sector in Bangladesh is currently witnessing unprecedented disruptions as a result of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. During this period, the Better Work team has been redeployed to offer support to factories and workers on crucial health and safety and industrial relations issues, coordinate information campaigns and training sessions for national partners, provide policy advice, and help bring all stakeholders together to develop responses at the national and international levels.
Workers are making their voices heard
“Since the launch of Better Work in our factory, workers have started to engage more in open discussions with management. I’ve seen a transformation in the worker-management relationships over the past four years. This helped narrow the communication gap within the factory. It also helped us communicate our demands more clearly.”
Ayesha Akhter Nazma, a trimming operator who has been working in SQ Celsius Ltd. for the past nine years
Empowering women for leadership
In Bangladesh’s ready-made garment factories, 19 out of every 20 line supervisors are men, despite 80% of workers being women. Better Work and the International Finance Corporation responded to this issue through the GEAR initiative — which sets out to help women to build their competencies to advance their careers.
Breastfeeding and maternity protection
“I can take care of my son, and I can feed him properly. Keeping my son closer to me even in the workplace and knowing that he is safe and growing up healthy gives me peace of mind. This helps me to concentrate on my work better.”
Tania Akhter, employed at Sparrow Apparels Ltd.