Home Apparel Accord may stay beyond 2018

Accord may stay beyond 2018

Platform’s statement belies govt claim about exit

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the platform of European buyers and retailers, on Thursday said that the platform would not leave Bangladesh until the local regulatory body becomes fully capable of ensuring safety in the country’s garment factories, although the government has recently claimed that the group would leave by 2018.‘The government of Bangladesh has agreed that the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (the Accord) will continue to operate in Bangladesh until a set of rigorous readiness conditions are met by local regulatory bodies,’ the platform said in a statement issued on Thursday.The Accord said that the agreement was reached at a meeting held on October 19 between brand and trade union signatories to the Accord, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, International Labour Organisation and commerce and labour ministries of Bangladesh.After the meeting, commerce minister Tofail Ahmed, however, told reporters that the Accord would get conditional extension for six months and during the period the initiative would work as ‘Transitional Accord’.‘Last week, the government of Bangladesh confirmed it will extend the permission of the Accord to continue beyond May 2018 until a joint monitoring committee (comprised of Accord brand signatories, Accord trade union signatories, BGMEA, ILO and Bangladesh government) agrees that the stated conditions for a handover are met,’ the Accord said.It also said when the joint monitoring committee would agree that the conditions for handover have been met, there would be a further transition period of six months for the Accord, after which the local body would assume responsibility for factories covered by the Accord.Citing the decision of the meeting the retailers’ platform said that the joint monitoring body would review the progress towards meeting the conditions on a bi-annual basis.The rigorous readiness conditions are demonstrated proficiency in inspection capacity, remediation of hazards, enforcement of the law against non-compliant factories, full transparency of governance and remediation progress, and investigation and fair resolution of workers’ safety complaints, the statement read.‘The Accord is ready to continue operations beyond May 2018 as all parties recognise substantial additional capacity-building is necessary before responsibility to protect workers in factories producing for Accord signatory brands can be responsibly handed over to a national regulatory body,’ it said.According to the statement, the signatory brands and trade unions of the 2018 Accord that was signed in June 2017 committed to engaging with the government of Bangladesh, BGMEA and the ILO to implement the conditions under which the Accord would be able to transfer its functions to a national regulatory body.Pascal Brun, head of sustainability global production of H&M, said they are confident that the remarkable achievements of the 2013 Accord would be sustained through the ‘Transition Accord’ until it is demonstrated that a credible regulatory body with the rigorous oversight mechanisms can take over all Accord functions.Reiterating its commitment the Accord said that the platform would work constructively with the government of Bangladesh and the national plan of action colleagues with the aim of ensuring effective public regulation by Bangladeshi authorities as an ultimate solution.Until the goal is achieved, the Accord will continue, in cooperation with the Bangladeshi authorities, its inspection, remediation, safety committee training programmes, and complaints mechanism to achieve its goal of a safe and sustainable garment industry in Bangladesh in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses, or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures, the statement said.Jenny Holdcroft, IndustriALL Global Union assistant general secretary and Accord board member, said they have always aimed for the Accord functions to be transferred to a national regulatory body provided that the full capacity, transparency, and governance are in place and that they can be assured that the worker protections under the Accord continue to be safeguarded.After the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 24, 2013, that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garments workers, EU retailers formed the Accord and North American brands and retailers formed Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety undertaking a five-year plan, which set timeframes and accountability for inspections and training and workers empowerment programmes.The Accord has so far conducted safety inspections at more than 1,800 RMG factories from where its member brands procure products.Alliance has so far inspected more than 700 factories which are on its supplier list.The Alliance has already informed the Bangladesh government that it would leave the country by its timeframe — July, 2018.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here