Comments on the Bangladesh Garment Industry

Comments on the Bangladesh Garment Industry


UNDER SECRETARY SHERMAN: We were buoyed by
the extraordinary courage of the young woman who survived for 17 days and seemed to be
emblematic of the will and the resilience of Bangladesh to not only survive such a tragedy
but to thrive and to see it as a transformational moment where in fact the issues that your
country has faced with labour rights, with fire safety, with building codes, this is
the moment that the government in the lead, along with the business sector, labour and
consumers, with support from the international community can really make a difference and
ensure that the very strong brand that is Bangladesh will continue forever – and even
get better. UNDER SECRETARY SHERMAN: In 1911 the United
States had its own tragedy called the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, and we only lost
129 I believe it was people at the time but it was considered a monumental tragedy. It
shocked the nation and as a result of that we changed everything we did: we created building
codes, we got inspectors, we changed our regulatory framework, we allowed free association and
labour rights in a way we had not before. It was transformational and we hope that that
is the case here in Bangladesh as well. UNDER SECRETARY SHERMAN: All of the partners
play a role but at the end of the day citizens expect the governments to take the lead role
and the foreign secretary, the foreign minister and I’m sure the prime minister will assure
me that that is indeed the case and there are plans that are being put in place and
already begun to be implemented. This is hard to sustain, but in order to solve the problem
one must sustain the effort to get to the result that every worker every day deserves
to make sure that they have a safe workplace and that they can support their families and
their futures.

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