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Six months on after Rana Plaza: Towards a safer garment industry in Bangladesh

Thursday 24th Oct 2013 (Latest News, Asia and the Pacific, Health and Safety at Work, Garment Sector)


Location:                                Geneva, Switzerland and Dhaka, Bangladesh

Production date:                   24 October 2013

Audio:                                    nat sound

Rights:                                     No usage restrictions, copyright ILO

Video type:                            B-roll

Keywords:                             Occupational safety and health, garment workers, working


Contact:                        , tel: 0041 22 799 7935

The Government of Bangladesh and the International Labour Organization have launched a major initiative – including a new Better Work programme - aimed at improving working conditions in the ready-made garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh.  The three-and-a-half year initiative, ‘Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Sector’  focuses on minimizing the threat of fire and building collapse in ready-made garment factories and on ensuring the rights and safety of workers.

It has been developed in collaboration with government, employers’ and workers’ representatives, in response to a number of industrial accidents in the sector, including the Rana Plaza building collapse in April, in which more than 1,100 workers died.

Find out more:

Six months on from the Rana Plaza building collapse, the ILO is also helping survivors develop new skills and find work.

When Minu Akter ’s limp body was piled onto the mass of corpses after Rana Plaza collapsed, she prayed that someone would notice that she was still alive. Too weak to call out, she had been smothered under dead bodies in the rubble without food or water for three days.  As they laid her out in the makeshift mortuary on the Adhur Chandra High School oval in Savar, someone heard the faintest of cries and realized she was still alive.

Minu had been working in Phantom Apparels on the fourth floor of Rana Plaza for four and a half years. She still suffers from physical injuries sustained during the collapse, as well as ongoing trauma, from being trapped under the building.  Six months on, however, Minu is starting to overcome her grief with the support of her family and through the ILO’s Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Reform project in partnership with BRAC, an NGO.  The programme, funded by the European Union, is equipping survivors with employable skills to get jobs in local workplaces.  As a result, Minu is now working in a tailor’s shop in Savar, mentored by an ILO /BRAC supervisor and master craftsperson. 





Interview sound bites with Gilbert Houngbo, ILO Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships:

“The program that we are launching will essentially have four, five major components: the huge major part of it is the beginning of the inspection of the factories.  We are starting the inspections of those factories, together with the colleagues from the Alliance (initiative) will be covering more or less 500 or 600 factories, the Accord - which is signed by IndustriALL, UNI Global and as I said some 100 brands - will be covering somewhere in the vicinity of 1600 factories.  So the ILO will be covering the remaining out of the total 3500.” 


Generval views of tailor shop and Minu Aktar, Rana Plaza survivor ,  at sewing machine in tailor shop where she is training to become a tailor


Interview sound bite with Minu Aktar, Former garment worker and survivor of Rana Plaza building collapse:

“I got a job at Rana Plaza and worked there for about four and a half years.  Suddenly one day Rana Plaza collapsed.  After being trapped inside the collapsed building for three days the rescue workers found me.  They took me to the hospital where I had to stay for fifteen days.”


“Now I am getting tailoring training here.  I am learning to make blouses, petticoats and all other kinds of female clothing.  Now, after this skill training, even if I go back to my village I will be able to keep on doing this work and earn money for my family.  I am very glad to receive this training.”


Various archive footage with wide shots of ruins of Rana Plaza building after it collapsed,  April 2013



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