50pc of Alliance-listed units finish remediation

Staff Correspondent

Alliance, a platform of North American brands and buyers, on Wednesday said that remediation work at 50 per cent of garment factories it inspected had been completed at an average cost of Tk 2 crore a unit.
The authorities of the garment factories conducted the remediation works at their factories following plans given by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
‘Alliance has recently approved a fund of $20 million to support the owners of the factories it inspected in renovating their units through low-cost financing,’ Alliance managing director Mesbah Rabin said at a press conference at his office at Gulshan in the city.
He said, ‘After completing the primary safety assessment in all 587 factories, completion of remediation efforts in the factories has become the main challenge for us as the process is highly expensive.’
He said that on an average 45 types of problems including electrical, fire and structural faults had been found at the factories during the inspection.
‘Substantial challenges must be overcome in order to achieve our goals in the Bangladesh garment industry,’ he said.
Rabin said that during the safety inspection the names of 16 factories had been sent to a government-formed review committee due to critical structural faults at the units and the review committee closed five of the factories and closed partially nine others.
Though Alliance completed its safety inspection in all the factories it listed in July this year, three of its member brands — Walmart, VF Corporation and GAP— completed their individual inspections in their supplier factories in December, he said.
The remediation work at least 300 factories started immediately after the inspection of the individual brands and now the work has almost been completed, he said.
Together Alliance and its partners are steadily achieving progress that will have a lasting, positive impact on factory workers, Rabin said.
‘We have trained workers of the factories listed by us, so that they could correctly identify what to do in case of fire. The percentage of workers having fire safety awareness has increased to 97.8 per cent this year from 39 per cent last year,’ Alliance adviser Ian Spaulding said.
He said that to ensure safe workplace
Alliance launched a worker’s helpline — Amader Kotha, so that workers could anonymously report concerns without any fear of retaliation.
Now the workers of 22 factories are under the coverage of the helpline and the number will be increased to 51 within a shortest possible time, Ian said.
Replaying to a question, Alliance managing director said that to avoid duplication of inspection Alliance and Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a platform of EU retailers, were holding discussions.
‘I hope all parties will reach to a solution in this regard,’ Rabin said.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 24 last year which killed more than 1,100 people mostly garment workers,  26 North American retailers on July 10 formed Alliance undertaking a five-year plan which sets aggressive timeframes and accountability for inspections, training and worker empowerment.

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