Recently, I visited two RMG factories in Savar for a needs assessment data collection as part of the Green Social Dialogue programme piloting. The goal of this pilot is to sensitize RMG workers and civil society representatives on the impact of climate change on the RMG industry. To do this, we are assessing the existing level of knowledge, attitude and practice of the RMG factory workforce through the needs assessment.
Our approach is to capacitate workers to understand that climate change can be a major issue to be addressed through social dialogue mechanism. To assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice of the workforce, we are conducting this study through a quantitative survey, focus group discussions, and in-depth interviews with workers, worker representatives from different committees, and management.
While visiting the factories, it became clear that many of the workers were not fully aware of the effects of climate change. However, when asked to share their observations of the changes in their surrounding area, few of them shared interesting stories. One of the workers shared a story about the changes they have witnessed in the environment. He said, "I used to swim in a pond near the factory 12-15 years ago, but now the water is so polluted that it's not safe to swim anymore, let alone drink from it. This is because the population has grown significantly over the years with the construction of many factories in the area."
While factory owners have taken some initiatives to introduce energy-efficient and environment friendly practices, it is clear that more initiatives can be introduced to educate and engage workers on this important issue. The findings from the assessment will give us a clear understanding of the current situation.
One key takeaway from our exploratory consultation, which we conducted with multiple stakeholders to design needs assessment tools, was the importance of worker committees in educating the workforce regarding climate change. It is clear that worker committee members can play a vital role in promoting awareness and understanding of this issue among workers.
We are eagerly waiting for the findings from this needs assessment which will be crucial to gain a better understanding of the needs of RMG workers and to design interventions that address the effect of climate change on the RMG industry.
By Nafiz Mahmud Ayon
Deputy Programme Coordinator, ETI Bangladesh
" I used to swim in a pond near the factory 12-15 years ago, but now the water is so polluted that it's not safe to swim anymore, let alone drink from it. This is because the population has grown significantly over the years with the construction of many factories in the area.