Rowlinson Knitwear’s Bangladeshi partner factory, New Horizon, has created a democratically elected workers participation committee to help improve its workers’ rights.

Facilitated by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) as part of its social dialogue programme, the new Elected Workers Participation Committee includes eight elected factory workers, comprising of five women and three men, explained Rowlinson.

“Its role is to give workers a voice — something that is generally lacking for those working within the ready-made garments sector in Bangladesh.

“It will help workers and employers to better understand their rights and responsibilities, improve communications between workers and management, increase the participation of women in workplace processes and improve morale.”

“Ethics and sustainability are just as important to us as making a profit, so we consider the welfare and rights of everyone in our supply chain,” commented Ken Edgar, overseas director at Rowlinson.

“With support from ETI Bangladesh, New Horizon’s Elected Workers Participation Committee gives their people a voice to raise concerns and improve their workplace. It’s a step forward for workers’ rights and better performance too.”

The Elected Workers Participation Committee, which is recognised by Bangladesh law, had its first meeting at the end of April and will meet regularly. Members of the committee will look at issues such as health and safety, wellbeing and general work conditions, as well as pay and bonuses — everything will be noted down and responded to by the factory owners.

“As a B Corporation, we want to help build a better way of doing business, considering the impact of our actions on both people and planet,” added Ken.

“That shouldn’t stop when it comes to our supply chain — it’s our responsibility to ensure everyone involved in the making of our garments are paid and treated fairly, work in safe conditions and are given a voice.”