3 years ago

Workers' biometric database: Many BKMEA members missing

- FE file photo used for representational purpose
- FE file photo used for representational purpose

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Many knitwear makers are yet to pay heed to their trade body's repeated call to introduce workers' biometric database since the move was taken five years back, sources said.

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) started the process to develop a central digitised workers' database of its member factories in 2015, they added.

More than 1,500 knitwear manufacturing units are registered with the trade body, but majority of them have not installed the digitised system, they noted.

The BKMEA last month again called its member factories to install the system by August 31.

In the notice, the trade body again warned of stopping providing any service, including issuance of utilization declaration (UD).

It also said that the factories that have failed to introduce the system and upload the updated workers' information at its central system within the deadline, would have to mandatorily pay their respective workers' insurance claim by themselves.

The failed factories will also be deprived of financial assistance from the RMG sector central fund.

The garment factories get financial assistance from the RMG Central Fund to pay insurance claims of their workers.

Earlier in December 2016, the government had asked the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and BKMEA to complete the workers' database within the shortest possible time so that workers or their family members could receive financial assistance from the fund.

Following the government's instruction, BGMEA played a proactive role and a good number of factories of the trade body had come under the process while the BKMEA failed to make tangible progress.

When asked, Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, director of BKMEA, said till date a total of 607 factories, out of 806 active members that take UD, have come under the biometric database system.

The rest 202 are yet to enlist them in the BKMEA database, he said, adding that out of the 202 units, only 27 are currently running their business.

The rest might be doing sub-contract jobs due to work order scarcity amid the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, adding that these units are not permanently closed.

He, however, said they would again request them to be enlisted with the trade body's central database taking the present situation into account as the majority of them have financial problems while the coronavirus has worsened the situation.

"Finally, we will stop providing any services including UD and those who will fail to install the system have to pay workers' insurance claims by themselves," he told the FE on Saturday.

Mr Ehsan said the knitwear sub-sector has created employment for about 1.0 million workers.

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