Two MoUs signed between BKMEA and STITCH on – a. Promoting Gender Sensitive Workplace in RMG Factories; and b. Making Logical Price Negotiation with Brands by Using “Fair Price App”
Two MOUs have been signed between BKMEA and STITCH Consortium on – a) Promoting Gender Sensitive Workplace; and b) Making Logical Price Negotiation with Brands by using “Fair Price App” across BKMEA Member Factories. The signing ceremony took place on 23 August 2022 at The Westin hotel in Dhaka.
Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, Vice President, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and Alexander Kohnstamm, Executive Director, Fair Wear Foundation signed the MOUs.
The objective of the MOUs is to foster collaboration between BKMEA and STITCH to promote gender sensitive workplace and make logical price negotiation with brands by using fair price app.
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; Md. Rashedul Alam Raju, General Secretary, Industiall Bangladesh Council; Amirul Haque Amin Advisor, STITCH Trade Union Advisory Board; Abil Bin Amin, Country Manager, ETI Bangladesh; Bablur Rahman, Country Manager, Fair Wear Foundation; Md. Shahinur Rahman, Consultant, Mondiaal FNV also spoke on the occasion.
The speakers reiterated the fact that there should be a just relationship and ethical purchasing practice between the suppliers and the buyers, which should ultimately lead to better business along more congenial work environment and better pay for the workers.
Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA); is a prominent Trade Body to represent solely the Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters of Bangladesh. BKMEA’s core objectives includes; to bolster the capacity and increase awareness on 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 programme 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.
As per the MOUs, the agreed upon areas of cooperation are:
a. Collaboration on Promoting Gender Sensitive Workplace
The BKMEA and the STITCH consortium are working together for promoting gender sensitive workplace in RMG sector. Eliminating gender-based violence including sexual harassment is a key to ensuring safe and dignified working condition 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 elimination of gender discrimination, sexual exploitation and harassment at workplace (Writ Petition No. 5916 of 2008). The directives include formation of a “Complaint Committee” in “all work places 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 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 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 not limited to, design, develop, deliver and evaluate a capacity building programme, including capacity enhancement of BKMEA in-house master trainers, to support the factories in forming and functionalizing SHCCs.
b. 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 ensuring ethical purchasing practices and maintain a sustainable business relation 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 labour 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 Fair Price App and encourage member factories of BKMEA to use the Fair Price app during costing for any brands they are producing.