Accord, a platform of European Union (EU) retailers, is involved in wrongdoing with a number of the country’s apparel factories, industry insiders alleged.
Besides, the EU entity is getting involved in labour management issue to create problems with the factory management and engaging in some activities beyond the purview of worker safety, they also alleged.
The platform is also threatening to declare some factories ‘non-compliant’ which is destroying export business, they added.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has made a written complaint against the Accord and sent it to Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed to look into the issue seriously and take appropriate measures to keep the platform’s activities under the country’s law, the association sources said.
A copy of the letter signed by BGMEA President Md Atiqul Islam and sent to the commerce minister on Wednesday last is available with the FE.
“As I told you before, Accord is creating problems for some factories with threats to declare them non-compliant and thereby destroy their export business,” the letter said.
“Accord is operating in our country to improve worker safety in the garment factories where the accord signatory companies source apparel products. But it has got engaged in some activities which are beyond the purview of worker safety.”
The issues are: the accord has trained worker activists to act as field resources people (FRP) who visit factories to agitate workers on compliance issues.
The Accord gets involved in labour management issues such as payment of wages to workers when a factory is closed down due to safety risks. In such cases the factory management follows the Bangladesh labour law, but the Accord does not accept it and puts pressure for wage payment in accordance with the provision of the Accord agreement.
According to the letter the BGMEA has urged the minister to kindly look into the situation seriously and take appropriate measures to keep the Accord activities within the bounds of the law of our country.
The BGMEA president is now staying abroad for which this correspondent could not get any comment from him.
Meanwhile BGMEA First Vice President Nasiruddin Ahmed Chowdhury told the FE on Friday: “We came to know that the Accord and Alliance are intervening in many of our issues beyond their jurisdiction which is creating barriers to our production and export activities.”
He said the Accord is trying to influence workers of some factories to communicate with labour leaders and participate in trade union. But the Accord is not supposed to do this. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is to see the trade union issue.
This correspondent sent a number of E-mails to Executive Director of the Accord Rob Wayss seeking comment on the issue on Thursday last. But he did not reply to the E-mails.
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, two separate entities of the retailers of European and North American buyers, has been formed following the Rana Plaza Collapse.
The Accord was signed on May 15, 2013. It is a legally binding agreement between global brands and retailers and trade unions designed to build a safe and healthy Bangladeshi readymade garment (RMG) industry.