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Bangladesh govt permits Accord to operate beyond May 2018
26
Oct '17
Courtesy: Accord
Courtesy: Accord
The Government of Bangladesh has agreed that the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (the Accord) will continue to operate in Bangladesh beyond May 2018. The Accord will depart Bangladesh when a set of rigorous readiness conditions—full capacity to inspect factories, compel remedies and protect workers—are met by local regulatory bodies.
 
The agreement was reached at meetings on October 19 between brand and trade union signatories to the Accord, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the ILO and the Bangladesh ministers of commerce and labour.
 
“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,” the Accord said in a statement.
 
As per the statement, 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 the Bangladesh government) agrees that the stated conditions for a handover are met. This joint monitoring body will review the progress towards meeting these conditions on a bi-annual basis. These rigorous readiness conditions 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.
 
When the joint monitoring committee agrees the conditions for handover have been met, there will be a further transition period of six months, after which the local body would assume responsibility for factories now covered by the Accord, the statement said.
 
Pascal Brun, H&M head of Sustainability Global Production, says: “H&M is confident that the remarkable achievements of the 2013 Accord will 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.” 
 
“We have always aimed for the Accord functions to transition to a national regulatory body provided that the full capacity, transparency, and governance are in place and that we can be assured that the worker protections under the Accord continue to be safeguarded,” says Jenny Holdcroft, IndustriALL Global Union assistant general secretary and Accord board member.
 
The continuation of the Accord safety programme in Bangladesh until May 2021 was first agreed upon by a group of global apparel brands and retailers and two global unions in June 2017. As of today, 47 brands and retailers have signed, covering almost 1200 of the current factories. The signatory brands and trade unions committed to engage with the Government of Bangladesh, BGMEA, IndustriAll Bangladesh affiliated unions, and the ILO to implement the conditions under which the Accord would be able to transfer its functions to a national regulatory body. (RKS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India


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