Debbie Coulter - Interim Head of Practice, Evidence & Learning, gives an update of progress and activities from our Bangladesh programme.
Expansion of ETI Bangladesh office staff
First, let me introduce you to two new team members based in Dhaka: our Programme Manager, Abil Bin Amin, and our Women’s Empowerment Coordinator, Meher Niger. Both Abil and Meher have substantial experience in our priority areas of work and we are sure will make a significant contribution to our work (further bio information here).
Social Dialogue Programme
The Joint ETI Social Dialogue Programme, bringing together companies from Denmark, Norway and the UK, completed its second pilot phase at the end of 2017. The subsequent external evaluation demonstrated positive results as well as proposing several recommendations, which we are incorporating alongside recommendations from other key stakeholders. These include:
- The extension of training to reach more mid-level managers and supervisors, a key concern for many company members.
- The need for awareness raising for the whole workforce. This is particularly relevant prior to a Worker Participation Committee election process so that workers can better understand their rights and responsibilities, as well as why and how standing for and participating in elections is important.
- The need for an offer of refresher training to participating factories.
To address these, we will pilot a blended learning approach integrating the digital training solution QuizRR into the social dialogue programme in five factories (QuizRR is currently being used in almost 140 factories in Bangladesh, China and Mauritius). We are looking for brands and suppliers to participate in this pilot, so please get in touch if you are interested in participating.
So far, 35 factories have participated, and 77,8608 workers have benefited from JETI SD, and we are now preparing to expand to 50 RMG and home textiles factories. This expansion (and enhancement, as above) – including the recruitment of in-house trainers – will be financed from our UK DFID RATE grant and by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation - NORAD. However, to ensure sustainability, we have also developed a costed business model, which we will discuss with brands and suppliers to ensure there is a business contribution going forward.
For further information, see a list of all participating brands and factories. We will shortly contact those brands that do not yet publicly disclose supply chain information so that we can better collaborate and provide more comprehensive support.
Finally, we are pleased to share with you a recent locally-produced video featuring a range of voices commenting on JETI SD. Enjoy here.
For further information about the Joint ETI SD programme contact:
Expansion of ETI training offer
In response to demand from local stakeholders, ETI will be enhancing its training offer to both local members, trade unions, NGOs, and local industry. The ETI Training Manager has visited Dhaka to assess the need at local level and we have now engaged Ergon Associates to localise and contextualise ETI Base Code training. With the support of our local partners, Legal Counsel, Ergon will now finalise in-country training in May and deliver a Training of Trainers course to the local ETI team and other delivery partners. Further training packages will be developed and delivered throughout 2018.
ETI local platform
In line with ETI’s 2020 Strategy and the ETI Bangladesh Strategy, we will be launching the Joint ETI Ethical Trade multi-stakeholder platform within the coming months. The platform will convene twice yearly to discuss ethical trade related matters, share learning, promote local tri-partite dialogue and build mutual respect and collaboration.
By 2020 our aim is to have:
- Supported the emergence and development of the Bangladesh ethical trade platform.
- Documented the effectiveness of the platform as it sets its own agenda, tackles workers’ rights issues and delivers positive outcomes for workers.
- Documented the progress made towards self-sustainability.
Early intervention process
ETI Bangladesh is increasingly being asked to provide mediation and/or facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue relating to factory-based grievances. To ensure that we can respond rapidly and professionally to such requests, ETI and the TUC are working closely with the UK’s Arbitration, Conciliation and Advisory Service (ACAS) to develop guidance on early intervention dispute resolution. This will be followed by training for ETI staff and members in Dhaka. The TUC will also work with the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) and the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) over the next nine months on effective grievance resolution and building a better understanding of the ETI Base Code.
IBC, in partnership with ETI, organised a well-attended multi-stakeholder roundtable on “Gender-based violence in the workplace” on 6th March 2018 in Dhaka. One of the key recommendations was the need for increased awareness on gender-based violence and the need for training across the sector. Building on this dialogue, Meher Niger, Gender Empowerment Coordinator is to develop a workplace-based training course focusing on gender-based violence.
We also plan to pilot the formation of Sexual Harassment Complaint Committees and subsequent capacity building within ten factories. This will preferably be within Joint ETI SD factories but we also welcome any new factory interest. As with the QuizRR pilot, we would welcome expressions of interest.
DFID representatives will be visiting the programme in May and plan to visit participating Joint ETI SD factories and meet with ETI members in Dhaka.
Quarterly member updates
In an effort to improve communications and keep ETI members up-to-date with all activities, ETI Bangladesh plans to provide a quarterly update. If you are sourcing from Bangladesh but are not currently on the Bangladesh Working Group distribution list, please contact Eshan.firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact me or Jamil for any further information.
Interim Head of Practice, Evidence & Learning