BGMEA to inform govt of Accord, Alliance activities ‘beyond laws’

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:15, Oct 30,2016

 
 

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association will draw the government’s attention to the activities inconsistent with the existing laws of the land, being carried out by two platforms of western buyers.
The umbrella organisation for the country’s apparel exporters on Saturday took the decision at a board of directors meeting held at the BGMEA headquarters in the capital, Dhaka.
The trade body will soon specify which activities of Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the platform of European buyers, and Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, the platform of North American buyers, are conflicting with the existing laws of Bangladesh.
‘We will place the issue before the government and the government would decide how it should be resolved,’ BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman told New Age after the meeting.
He said that board members told the meeting that many activities of Accord and Alliance were inconsistent with the laws of the country.
‘We will no longer accept activities beyond the existing laws and will draw attention of the ministry concerned to such activities. If necessary, we will appoint lawyer to address the issue,’ Siddiq said.
The readymade garment sector leaders at the meeting also discussed the issue of formation of a committee to oversee the timely implementation of the corrective action plans in the supplier factories of Accord and Alliance as the two initiatives will expire in July 2018.
The meeting observed that the government should form a body which will take charge of the post-inspection monitoring work in the RMG sector once the timeframe of Accord and Alliance ends in 2018.
‘If the government wants to carry out the post-inspection monitoring in the RMG sector through the Remediation Coordination Cell, the institution must be strengthened as soon as possible,’ a BGMEA leader said.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, in April 2013, North American retailers, including top brands Walmart and Gap, formed the Alliance and European retailers formed the Accord undertaking a five-year plan which set timeframes and accountability for safety inspections and training and workers’ empowerment programmes.
The Accord has so far conducted initial inspections at 1,600 factories while the Alliance inspected 759 factories.
At the same time, under the National Action Plan, the Bangladesh government with the collaboration of the International Labour Organisation inspected about 1,500 factories.
During the inspection, 148 factories were sent to a government-set review panel for the decision as the inspection teams found critical safety issues in the units.
Of the 148 factories, the review committee that comprises representatives from the government, Accord, Alliance, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and BGMEA shut 37 factories while closed 42 units partially.
The Alliance, in its third annual report released this month, said that 55 per cent of its listed factories had completed high-priority repairs. But the listed factories finished 63 per cent of all required repairs, it said.
The platform also asked its supplier RMG factories to conclude high-priority safety repairs by July 2018 to avoid suspension from the list of compliant suppliers of the group.
In a recent report, the Accord said that approximately 67 per cent of safety hazards detected during its initial inspections at its supplier factories had been corrected.
Due to a failure in making required progress in remediation, the Alliance so far has cut business relations with 104 supplier factories and the Accord has terminated business ties with 41 factories.

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