The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a platform of European fashion brands and buyers, will no more terminate ties with any readymade garment factory without consulting the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, according to the decision of a meeting between the BGMEA and the Accord steering committee held on September 2 and 3 in Dhaka. BGMEA President Rubana Huq recently sent a letter to the members of the trade body informing the outcome of the meeting. In the letter, the BGMEA President said as to the issue, the chief safety inspector of Accord would not escalate factories on the criteria of average corrected remediation percentage for the fire safety. ‘There will be no escalation for negative suction related non-compliance. The CSI may escalate for lack of remediation for specific fire CAP items after collaborating with the BGMEA,’ Rubana said in her letter.
Citing the clauses of a memorandum of understanding, she said the BGMEA and the Accord would establish a technical sub-committee of experts to generate and recommend additional solutions that enable suppliers to implement fire related corrective action plans. Rubana informed BGMEA members that the Accord would write its signatory brands in order to discourage punitive measures for any stage 1 and stage 2 escalations. “The Accord retried that the purpose of such escalations is to signal to the suppliers and brands the urgency for both parties to collaborate to remediate non-compliances within the set time frames, so the factory can be de-escalated,’ the letter read. The BGMEA also informed its members that the trade body would sent a questionnaire to all factories to develop baseline data for ensuring boiler safety in the RMG units.
The BGMEA would be responsible of developing knowledge to inform the Accord and RMG Sustainability Council to prepare for rolling out the boiler safety inspections under the RSC. Representatives of the BGMEA and the steering committee of the Accord met in Dhaka on September 2 and 3 to discuss the establishment of the RMG Sustainability Council as previously agreed in the MoU on 8 May 2019. The parties discussed a wide range of issues to ensure a smooth transition of the Accord and its functions (related to inspections, remediation, training and safety complaints mechanism) to the RSC by the end of May 2020. After the Rana Plaza building collapse on April 24, 2013, that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garments workers, EU retailers formed the Accord undertaking a five-year plan, which set timeframes and accountability for inspections and training and workers empowerment programmes.
At the same time, North American brands and retailers formed Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the platform inspected some 700 factories. The five-year timeframe of Accord expired on May 31, 2018 and the platform got six months extension as transition period. Letter on, the supreme Court allowed Accord to run its operation in Bangladesh for 281 working days since May 8 this year. On the other hand, Alliance left Bangladesh on December 31, 2018 after the end of its tenure.