Employment Injury Protection Scheme for Workers in the Textile and Leather Industries (EIPS)

Project description

Title: Employment Injury Protection Scheme for Workers in the Textile and Leather Industries (EIPS)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh
Country: Bangladesh
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE), Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Overall term: 2017 to 2019

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Context

Employees in Bangladesh’s textile and leather sectors are exposed to different risks regarding their health and safety at their workplace on a daily basis. The number of workplace injuries and occupational diseases in Bangladesh cannot be exactly quantified due to a lack of reliable statistics. Mandatory reporting on accidents at the workplace and occupational diseases is widely ignored. Tragic events, such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in April 2013 or the factory fire at Tazreen Fashions in November 2012 have directed international attention to the precarious working conditions in Bangladesh’s textile sector.

Although legal provisions and strategies are now in place for prevention, rehabilitation and compensation, these are fragmented and have yet to be embedded in an overall strategy. Furthermore, even though the companies are subject to civil liability, only a notable few fulfil their legal obligations. The responsible government bodies require more resources to enforce the legal provisions to ensure that affected individuals have a fair chance of asserting their claims. 

The Government of Bangladesh is aware of the issues and plans to introduce an employment injury protection scheme which will include prevention, rehabilitation and compensation. However, the legislative frameworks, administrative structures and processes required for the roll-out of a statutory employment injury protection scheme are not yet in place.

The project’s target group comprises industrial workers in Bangladesh. According to official statistics, 7.3 million people have employment contracts. The employment injury protection scheme will be introduced first for workers in the textile and garment industries and in the leather sector. These are usually unskilled workers in low-wage jobs, with women accounting for the majority of the workforce.

Objective

A national employment injury protection scheme in Bangladesh will ensure long-term protection for the workforce against work-related accidents and occupational diseases.  

Approach

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh and assists in developing a legal framework, contributes to multi stakeholder dialogs on employment injury protection, and supports the set-up of an administrative body responsible for the employment injury protection scheme. Therefore, the project works closely with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and other development partners and foundations. Cooperation with the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) will bring German expertise into the advisory services.

The project works towards achieving broad social consensus for the introduction of the employment injury protection scheme. It therefore not only provides advice on policy design within the Ministry of Labour and Employment, but also discusses the issue with an enlarged advisory body comprising government, employer and employee representatives in order to reach a viable consensus.  

Managing the three areas of prevention, rehabilitation and compensation under one roof is in itself beneficial, as it increases the incentive for prevention and thus reduces the number of accidents. By supporting the roll-out of an employment injury protection scheme, the project makes a medium- to long-term contribution to sustainable improvement in working conditions in Bangladesh and to comprehensive protection for workers against workplace hazards. The project therefore plays an active role in the realization of economic and social rights for Bangladeshi workers.