Ten companies from the CNMI and the US have submitted proposals for external monitoring compliance system of the Saipan Garment Manufacturers Association after searching for months for a prospective contractor to help them carry out its Code of Conduct.
From these applicants, a team of compliance monitors will be selected to advise SGMA, its member companies and in some instances, their buyers as to the factories complying with the code.
Final recommendations to its members will be concluded during the training program being conducted by SGMA. Factory personnel have been receiving training since January this year from the Business for Social Responsibility and the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour and OSHA divisions.
The advanced training will end in August, and with the monitoring systems in place, the Code of Conduct will become fully implemented and operational.
BSR will be continuing their role as instructor and will be consulted in the evaluation of the proposals received to select the monitoring firm.
SGMA, BSR and along with one of the firms already monitoring the Saipan factories are discussing the various proposals to begin the selection process, according to its executive director, Richard A. Pierce.
“Factories are already audited on a regular basis by their buyers and retailers, but we are taking it a step further by asking our candidates to carry our Code of Conduct alongside them when they monitor our member companies,” he said.
The group may have to choose one or more external monitoring group from among the proposers, but Pierce expressed confidence the training program will provide them enough guidelines to see that they are complying with the code.
“All of the companies in SGMA come under the monitoring programs of their respective buyers. And some are better than others,” he explained.
“There’s hardly a buyer or retailer on Saipan that does not already have a rigorous compliance program and with… the Code of Conduct, we expect to be what BSR and the (US labor department) stated that we had a chance to (have the Code) — a compliance model within our business.” (BS)