MoU signing between BKMEA and STITCH

A MoU signing ceremony has been held between BKMEA and STITCH on Promoting Gender Sensitive Workplace in RMG Factories & Fair Price App. Foster collaboration between BKMEA and STITCH to promote a gender-sensitive workplace and make logical price negotiations with brands by using a fair price app. At the signing ceremony, distinguished guests were present: Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, Vice President, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA); Md. Akhter Hossain Apurbo, CIP. Vice President, BKMEA Bas Blaauw, First Secretary Economic Affairs, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Dhaka; Alexander Kohnstamm, Executive Director, Fair Wear Foundation; Mye Kallander, Consortium, Coordinator, STITCH. Along with Abil Bin Amin, Country Manager, ETI Bangladesh; Bablur Rahman, Country Manager, Fair Wear Foundation; Md. Shahinur Rahman, Consultant, Mondiaal FNV.

Parties:

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA); is a prominent Trade Body to represent solely the Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters of Bangladesh. BKMEA’s core objectives include; bolstering the capacity and increasing awareness of basic rights and business principles among the Workers and Entrepreneurs of the Knitwear Sector. (For more about the BKMEA, visit: https://new.bkmea.com/bkmea-at-a-glance) Sustainable Textile Initiative: Together for Change (STITCH) is a partnership with a common vision: a global textile and garment industry that contributes to an equal and just society by respecting human rights in the world of work. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been providing financial support for this program and is aligned as a strategic partner. STITCH consortium in Bangladesh consists of three members — Mondiaal FNV, Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), and Fair Wear Foundation

Collaboration on Promoting Gender Sensitive Workplace:

The BKMEA and the STITCH consortium are working together for promoting a gender-sensitive workplace in the RMG sector. Eliminating gender-based violence including sexual harassment is a key to ensuring safe and dignified working conditions for women.

To support addressing that issue, the BKMEA and the STITCH consortium have agreed to work together in forming and functionalizing Sexual Harassment Complaint Committees (SHCCs) at BKMEA member factories as per the verdicts of the high court. The High Court passed some “directives in the form of guidelines” in the verdict on the elimination of gender discrimination, sexual exploitation and harassment in the workplace (Writ Petition No. 5916 of 2008). The directives include the formation of a “Complaint Committee” in “all workplaces and educational institutions in both public and private sectors, the Concerned Authority will constitute a Complaint Committee in order to receive complaints, and to conduct an investigation and make recommendations.”

STITCH consortium has agreed to provide such technical support to the BKMEA as they have proven expertise, experiences and resources regarding this. Both parties agree that they will work together to bring the High Court directive into practice in BKMEA-member factories and they will cooperate with each other regarding this with mutual understanding and discussion.

The Bangladesh Knitwear The Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Fair Wear Foundation, Mondiaal FNV and Ethical Trading Initiative are working together to bring the High Court directive into practice in BKMEA-member factories. The activities will include but are not limited to, designing, developing, delivering and evaluating a capacity-building program, including capacity enhancement of BKMEA in-house master trainers, to support the factories in forming and functionalizing SHCCs.

Collaboration on Fair Price App:

Ethical purchasing practices especially price negotiations are key issue for ensuring a sustainable business relation among international brands sourcing from Bangladesh and manufacturers producing for them. The BKMEA and the STITCH consortium are working together to ensure ethical purchasing practices and maintain a sustainable business relationship between international brands and manufacturers. To support addressing this issue the BKMEA and the STITCH consortium have agreed to work together in to move forward the discussions on ethical purchasing practices and introduce the Fair Price App in BKMEA member factories.

Fair Price is a pragmatic, replicable and scalable tool intended for suppliers in every country. The tool captures all elements of labor costs. As such, it empowers factories and brands with the information they need to determine fair (fact-based & bottom-up) prices that are calculated with the actual prevailing labour costs in a factory. Fair Price is a means to an end, namely more transparent costing and shared responsibility between buyers and suppliers to raise wages.

STITCH consortium has agreed to provide technical support to BKMEA on how to use Fair Price App, and incorporate feedback from BKMEA & their member factories, on further adaptation is required on the app. BKMEA will adopt the use of the Fair Price App and encourage member factories of BKMEA to use the Fair Price app during costing for any brands they are producing.