Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, the platform of North American brands and buyers, has started process to form a multi-stakeholder platform led by the brands to ensure inspection and remediation works in its affiliated readymade garment factories after the expiry of the platform in the end of this year.
They made the decision as the Remediation Coordination Cell, formed by the government, is yet gain capacity for factory inspection and remediation.
A seven-member board of directors of the Alliance visited Bangladesh last week and discussed with the key stakeholders, including Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and International Labour Organisation, about the new Safety Monitoring Organisation (SMO) that is going to be the successor of Alliance.
According to the sources, the Alliance wants to transfer the responsibility of post remediation oversight to the SMO once the RCC is fully capable to bear the responsibility.
The major activities of the SMO would be factory monitoring and transfer knowledge to the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments to make the RMG sector safety development sustainable.
In a statement, the Alliance executive director James Moriarty said the North American brands were ready to join in a partnership with the Bangladesh government and the BGMEA to establish an independent and credible organisation that will continue important works of the Alliance.
‘We have seen progress in our talks to date, and we are encouraged by momentum toward a collective agreement on a sustained safety effort,’ he said on Wednesday.
Sources said that as per the discussion four parties including the government, BGMEA, Brands and ILO would be included in the governing body of the new initiative.
The body would provide strategic guidance to the SMO and its relations with the national platform as formed.
The SMO would appoint proper experts to monitor the continuing safety efforts
and to share knowledge for building capacity within the RCC.
The SMO would oversee inspection and monitoring of factories to verify that the factories continue to meet the harmonised standard of national action plan regarding structural, fire and electrical safety, sources said.
The representatives from the member brands and factories would prepare a plan of action for achieving the goal of the SMO while the operational cost of the SMO would be provided mostly by the member brands.
Sources, involved with the process, said the SMO would be a transitional arrangement and it would fold directly under the national arrangement when the RCC would be able to make considerable progress ion finishing corrective action plans for the factories inspected under national plan of action (NAP).
When the RCC would be fully capable the SMO would be dissolved and after the transition of the SMO to Bangladesh the procedures of the platform would not be changed.
‘We are confident that reaching a multi-stakeholder agreement is the best way to continue supporting the safety and wellbeing of RMG workers across Bangladesh,’ Moriarty said.
Safe garment factories protect millions of workers, and they are critical to maintaining Bangladesh’s standing as a world leader in garment production, he added.
One of the alliance officials said that it was suppose to announce the SMO jointly by the Alliance and the BGMEA in last week but due to some technical problems the event was postponed.
He hoped that it would possible to make a declaration about the new platform within the short time.
Following the Rana Plaza building collapse in April, 2013 that claimed lives of more than 1,100 workers, North American retailers formed the Alliance and European buyers Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, undertaking a five-year plan which set timeframes and accountability for inspections and training and workers’ empowerment programmes.
In a recent press conference the Alliance executive director Moriarty said if Bangladesh failed to set up a competent body to oversee the post-remediation safety activities in the country’s readymade garment sector, North American brands and buyers might form an independent platform to monitor the activities after the expiry of the Alliance.
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