Desk Report: Bangladesh Accord will continue until government is ready to inherit its functions as the 2013 Accord prepares for its expiry this month. At a joint press conference between the Accord and Bangladeshi Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) it has been discussed. IndustriAll confirms it in its website.
BGMEA expressed its gratitude to Accord for their tremendous work since 2013, in the aftermath of Rana Plaza tragedy, to make the RMG factories safer gave full support for the Accord to continue until it can be replaced by a competent government authority.
BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman said, ‘Though our entrepreneurs have undergone a lot of pain in the remediation process, we appreciate the efforts of ACCORD in helping to raise the compliance level of our industry to international standards. Without their support it would have been difficult for us to achieve the progress we have made so far’.
The overall progress rate of remediation at the 1,620 Accord-covered factories is 85 per cent and it has engaged with 2.4 million worker participants to share vital safety information in more than 1,000 factories.
Crucial to the success of the Accord has been its unique features-: the labour-corporate partnership that is at the heart of the agreement, the Accord’s recognition of the need to ensure that factory owners are able to afford the cost of safety improvements, and the binding nature of the agreement.
Speaking at the joint press conference alongside representatives of IndustriALL’s Bangladesh affiliates, IndustriALL assistant general secretary Jenny Holdcroft, underlined the positive change that has taken place in building and fire safety through the work of the national actors – the factory owners, trade unions, workers, and brands.
Holdcroft mentioned, ‘The Accord is a unique opportunity for factory management, workers and their trade unions, global brands and global unions to combine their forces and thus remedy the systemic problem of building and fire safety deficits that has plagued the Bangladeshi garment and textile industry’.
While many lives have undoubtedly been saved, there is still more work to be done. Life-threatening safety hazards such as inadequate fire exits, fire alarms and fire protection systems are still present in hundreds of factories, and the remediation rate remains at 85 per cent.
This week, the Government of Bangladesh confirmed it would extend the permission of the Accord to work beyond May 2018. A joint Transition Monitoring Committee (TMC) has been established by the Government for the purpose of determining when the agreed conditions for a handover of the Accord work to a fully functional and competent national regulatory body have been met.
The TMC, which is comprised of Accord brands, global trade unions, Bangladeshi Garment Manufacturers’ Association (BGMEA), ILO and the Bangladesh government, met on May 6 and determined that the criteria agreed by the Accord and the BGMEA and recognized by the Government of Bangladesh have not yet been met.
These criteria include: 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.
‘We are pleased that the BGMEA supports the start of the 2018 Transition Accord on 1 June and for the work to continue until these criteria are met’, concludes Jenny Holdcroft.