New York-based Non-profit organization Social Accountability International (SAI) partnering with tech giant Vertru has jointly developed FairCapacity, a digital platform with the goal of improving labour practices and working conditions in the apparel sector. To engage with the stakeholders, a discussion titled ‘FairCapacity Stakeholder Round Table: Causes & Costs of excessive work hours in the RMG Industry’ was held in Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden on 25 June 2022.
The program was organized by Social Accountability International (SAI) with the local support from GSCS International Ltd. and the funding support from the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS), UKAid, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), and the European Commission.
A total of 90 attendees attended the roundtable who represented garment manufacturing factories, brands, buying houses, NGOs, INGO, labor leaders forum, and workers.
The program started with the welcome speech from Mr. Abdul Mottaleb, Managing Director of GSCS International Ltd. He thanked all the funders and stakeholders for joining in this project followed by the video recorded message from Ms. Jane Hwang, President & CEO- SAI.
Mr. Alen Maletic, Programme Officer at the Delegation of the European Union in Bangladesh emphasized the importance of this project for the well-being of the employees, employers, brands, and buyers in the supply chain.
Then the roundtable discussion on ‘Causes & Costs of Causes & Costs of excessive work hours in the RMG Industry’ started. It was moderated by Inclusive Business Expert Ms. Farhtheeba Rahat Khan while Mr. Abdul Alim Abdul, President & CEO- of Sustainable Management System Inc. and Lead Trainer & Bangladesh Representative of SAI presented the keynote speech.
Mr. Abdullah Hil Rakib, Managing Director, Team Group and Director of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA); Mr. Mohamad Anis Agung, Chief Technical Adviser- ILO Bangladesh; Mr. Prakash Dutt, Head of Quality Assurance and CSR- Asmara International Ltd.; Ms. Sumia Shuchi- Senior CRS Specialist-Varner-Gruppen; Ms. Jordane Cathala Rahman, Chairman- JM Export Ltd.; Mr. Mohammad Faruque Hossain, General Manager (IR & Compliance)- Comfit Composite Knit Ltd. and Mr. Ahasan Habib Bulbul, President- Garments Workers Front & Joint Coordinator- Sramik Karmochari Oyikko Parishad (SKOP) joined the session as discussants.
Discussants focused on the reasons behind excessive overtime, how it affects productivity & efficiency and how one can overcome the challenges of the negative consequences of it. The discussants also answered the questions raised by the attendees.
“We, GFEMS, always express our gratitude towards the millions of apparel workers who have been a key catalyst for changing and improving the development landscape of this country. So, thanks to all the workers out there. Last month, one of our partners completed a study that revealed that workers suffer from minor health issues now and then. Sometimes, that results in severe health problems. That costs the worker, the factory owner, and definitely the overall sector. The study confirms that – which we all understand by now – happy and healthy workers are more productive. The pandemic has also shown us – we need a happy and healthy workforce now than ever before. We, GFEMS, strongly believe in collaboration. We believe if we all work towards making workers happy and healthy, eventually, we will be able to have a sound and sustainable apparel sector in this country.”, Mr. Nasir Chowdhury, Country Manager- Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS), stated in his closing remarks.
The speakers were handed over a token of appreciation by the organizers. The roundtable came to an end with a networking dinner.
The FairCapacity Platform seeks to address problems through much-improved production capacity measurement and planning, responsible sub-contracting, and better buyer-supplier communication. It lets buyers know in real-time and with confidence if suppliers have the capacity to complete orders at a high quality and in compliance with labour expectations in the allotted time.