Director general of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Guy Ryder has dismissed the notion that expenditures that are made to improve working conditions and labour welfare damage the competitiveness of an industry in any way.
Rather, he pointed out, since the Rana Plaza tragedy of 2013, after which certain measures were introduced to improve Bangladesh’s readymade garments sector, the industry has continued to grow, “quite robustly”.
“So, I don’t think there is good evidence to believe that the type of expenditures being made up to this point have damaged the competitiveness of the industry,” Guy Ryder said in an exclusive interview with Prothom Alo.
He came to Dhaka to attend the 9th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) Summit, which had the focus on “Migration that Works for Sustainable Development for All: Towards a Transformative Migration Agenda”.
The ILO chief, who is also against expecting “too much from the industry”, however, considers expenditures aimed at improving working conditions as investment that can help the sector to be become “competitive and sustainable in the long run”.
“Future success and sustainability of the garments industry will depend crucially upon the industry being able to demonstrate to markets and buyers around the world that basic standards and safety are being observed,” Guy Ryder said.
He mentioned that the ILO is working to make sure that the industry is safe and also to build capacity of the industry to conduct their business in a way which ensures good working conditions and fair industrial relations.
During the interview, the ILO director general spoke of issues ranging from ILO’s widening activities to meetings in Bangladesh and Indonesia, from labour legislation to decent wage and from benefits of growth to xenophobia against migrant workers.
The video of the interview is attached on top of the article.
The piece has been transcribed by Ayesha Kabir and Sitesh Kumar Saha.