Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the European buyers’ and retailers’ platform, would get six months conditional extension after May 31, 2018 when the five-year time frame of the initiative will end.
The decision came at a meeting between government, Accord Steering committee and garment factory owners held at the conference room of commerce ministry in Bangladesh Secretariat on Thursday.
‘All parties have agreed that the Accord would take initiative to complete its work by May 31, 2018. During the period, two reviews will be conducted on the progress of remediation and if necessary the tenure of Accord will be extended for additional six months to handover its responsibility to the government-led remediation coordination cell,’ commerce minister Tofail Ahmed said at a briefing following the meeting.
He said that during the additional six-month period the name of the initiative would be ‘Transitional Accord’.
Tofail said that another initiative of North American buyers’ group, the Alliance for Bangladesh Workers’ Safety, has already said that they would not continue in Bangladesh beyond its tenure and Accord should take the same way.
‘At today’s meeting, we decided that two reviews on Accord progress – one in January 2018 and another in May 2018– would be conducted by a committee which will be constituted with the representitives of the government, brands, International Labour Organisation and global trade union federations,’ the commerce minister said.
Tofail said that the labour ministry of Bangladesh developed its capacity to oversee the factory safety issue and the buyers’ groups would hand over their responsibility to the RCC which would work under a steering committee comprising the brands, ILO, factory owners and trade union leaders.
State minister for labour Md Mujibul Haque, the Federetion of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Md Siddiqur Rahman, senior Advisor of H&M Karl Gunnar Fagerlin, chief human resources officer of LC Waikiki Edward David Southall and assistant general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union Jenny Holdcroft attended the meeting.
Following the meeting, the buyers’ representatives told reporters that they would evaluate the capacity of RCC and if they found that the committee is capable to take over the charge of remediation the Accord would hand over its activities, otherwise tenure of the platform would be extended for six more months.
During the extension period, the Accord would work independently, they said.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 24, 2013, that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garments workers, EU retailers formed the Accord to improve factory safety in Bangladesh while North American retailers formed the Alliance undertaking a five-year plan, which set timeframes and accountability for inspections and training and workers empowerment programmes.
Both the platforms conducted safety inspections in more than 2,300 RMG factories from where they procure products.
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