Global buyers and investors have requested Bangladesh government to allow operation of Transition Accord in Bangladesh’s readymade garment sector until the ‘rigorous readiness’ of a national body to take over the factory safety responsibility.
They have urged the government to implement the decision of Transition Monitoring Committee arrangement adopted in a meeting with the representatives of Accord, global trade union federations, Factory owners and International Labour organisation held at Bangladesh Secretariat in Dhaka on October 19, 2017.
As per the decision of the meeting, once the TMC considers the Remediation Coordination Cell to be ready based on the objective criteria agreed upon, Accord will hand over its tasks to that national regulatory body.
Bangladesh Investor Initiative, a group of institutional investors from twelve countries around the world having over $2.8 trillion in total assets, in a letter to the government has expressed its concern over the imminent termination of the Accord in November 2018.
BII said that the imminent termination of Accord would be too costly for workers’ health and safety and to brands and their investors that depended upon a secure and safe workforce.
‘Signatory brands and their investors have relied on Accord to ensure safe working conditions in Bangladeshi garment factories. Without Accord or adequate regulatory systems to provide these assurances, brands may need to consider their sourcing strategies, deeming Bangladesh too risky for workers and brand reputation,’ the letter said.
In separate letters to the labour ministry and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, BII called for the continuation of Accord until it hands over its tasks to the RCC once the TMC assesses the RCC to be ready.
Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, a Germany-based initiative, including garment brands like Hugo Boss and C&A, has sent a letter to prime minister Sheikh Hasina on August 28 requesting for the withdrawal of all obstacles in implementing the agreement on TMC.
‘We urge you, Honourable Prime Minister, to advocate for the TMC’s agreement and to ensure that all obstacles to keeping this commitment are withdrawn. This would strongly support the garment industry of Bangladesh on its future path towards becoming a safer and stronger industry,’ the letter read.
Partnership for Sustainable Textiles said it was of utmost importance for the safety of millions of employees in the garment industry of Bangladesh and in their firm interest that the agreed terms to hand over the Accord’s responsibilities were met.
It also said that their members faced disagreeable uncertainties in the past months regarding Accord’s future.
The letter of Partnership for Sustainable Textiles was signed by C&A, Kik, Otto Group, Esprit, Hugo Boss, Aldi and Tchibo.
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 on Fife and Building Safety in Bangladesh 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.
The tenure of both of the platform ended in mid of this year and the government extended six more months as transition period.
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