The handover of RMG factory safety monitoring responsibility to the government by the Accord will start on October 15 as the extended tenure for the European buyers’ platform will end on November 30.
A meeting of Transition Monitoring Committee held at the Bangladesh Secretariat in Dhaka on Tuesday made a decision that in the first phase the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh would hand over post-remediation safety monitoring responsibility of 25 fully-remediated readymade garment factories to the Remediation Coordination Cell, a government-formed body.
Labour secretary Afroza Khan, additional secretary (labour ministry) Syed Ahmed, Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments inspector general Md Shamsuzzaman Bhuyan, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Md Siddiqur Rahman and representatives of Accord and International Labour Organisation were present in the meeting.
According to the meeting sources, the Accord would submit the list of 25 factories, which would be handed over in the first phase to the government, shortly following a meeting of the steering committee of the buyers’ platform.
The EU buyers’ platform would also submit a time-bound transition plan to the government as the platform earlier had submitted a six-phase plan without mentioning any timeframe, the sources said.
A senior labour ministry official said that the government prepared a draft transition plan incorporating 27 steps and it would be finalised after getting the plan from Accord.
A seven-member liaison team to cooperate the factory handover process was formed at Tuesday’s meeting of TMC. The team includes representatives from Accord, ILO, BGMEA, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and DIFE.
Following the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 24, 2013, that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, EU retailers formed the Accord and North American retailers formed the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety undertaking a five-year plan which set timeframes and accountability for inspections and training and workers’ empowerment programmes.
The Accord has so far inspected more than 1,600 RMG factories while the Alliance has inspected more than 700 units.
Accord-listed factories completed more than 89 per cent of remediation works while 172 factories completed 100 per cent remediation.
The tenure of the platform ended in May this year and the government allowed it a six-month transition period.
The government formed Transition Monitoring Committee at a meeting with representatives of Accord, global trade union federations, factory owners and ILO 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, the Accord will hand over its tasks to that national regulatory body.
Global stakeholders including buyers, trade unions and investors have requested Bangladesh government to allow operation of Transition Accord until the ‘rigorous readiness’ of a national body to take over the factory safety responsibility.
The Alliance, however, said that it would leave Bangladesh after ending of its transition period in November.
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