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Over 150 participants, including the Minister for Labour, have joined the FWF Stakeholder Conference in Bangladesh on Human Rights Day. The most important topic: preventing and reducing violence against women in garment factories.
In 2011, Fair Wear Foundation started the Preventing Workplace Violence programme to help women workers and their managers prevent violence on the factory floor; thousands of workers and managers in factories have had training on the importance and benefits of treating women better, in 32 factories Anti-Harassment Committees (AHC’s) have been set up.
Currently the programme is being implemented in 41 Bangladeshi factories. Complaints helplines for workers have been established and received about 100 calls in the past year.
‘The situation is changing and the environment in work places is improving’, stated the Bangladeshi Minister for Labour and Employment, Mujibul Haque Chunnu during the conference. Other speakers included representatives of the ILO, UN Women, BGMEA and the US embassy. They shared best practices and experiences learned from the project with FWF country representatives in Bangladesh, over 25 factory managers, anti-harassment committee members, unions, agents and NGO’s.
Extremely bad language
‘There are many factories where management staff is highly abusive. They use extremely bad language’, stated one of the union leaders present. UN Women said that women garment workers’ human rights should be ensured ‘by establishing dignified working conditions, free from any kind of harassment and abuse’. One of the AHC members provided the 158 participants with a positive update: ‘Harassment happens, but we can handle it now by taking proper action’, she said.