Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a platform of European fashion brands and buyers, has submitted a working paper to the government setting a 281-working day plan for handover of the Accord-listed factories to a national body.
Following repeated requests from the government for submitting a time-bound transition plan, the Accord on February 7 submitted the paper before a government-set committee to finalise a time-bound transition plan for the retailers’ platform.
Government officials said although the Accord submitted a timeframe of 281 days to hand over its factories to the remediation coordination cell, the platform tagged with it a number of conditions that might hinder the implementation of the plan.
One of the government representatives to the committee said that the proposal was not logical as the implementation of the plan would take up to 14 months to meet the Accord-mentioned conditions.
He said that the labour ministry on Monday sent its reaction on the working paper to the Accord saying that it was possible to reduce the working days to 160 from 281.
The labour ministry has also informed the Accord that the transition plan should not be tagged with any condition, government officials said.
‘Accord termed the submitted document as “working paper” not “transition plan” saying that it will merge into an agreed transition plan step by step that means the buyers platform wants to linger finalisation of the transition plan,’ the member of the committee said.
The Supreme Court will decide the extension of Accord in Bangladesh but the government recently formed a committee comprised of representatives of Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Accord signatories to finalise a time-bound transition plan for the retailers’ platform as per the instruction of the court, a labour ministry official said.
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 to improve workplace safety in Bangladesh.
According to the Accord’s statistics, the initiative has so far inspected more than 1,600 factories and completed over 92 per cent of remediation works in the units.
The tenure of the platform ended in May, 2018 and the government allowed it a six-month transition period.
The extended period of the platform ended on November 30 last year and High Court instructed the government not to extend the timeframe of Accord any more.
Later, on January 21 this year, Supreme Court granted four weeks of additional time (up to February 18) to the Accord to continue the ongoing discussions with Bangladesh government and BGMEA over supports for the national body, Remediation Coordination Cell, and transition of Accord works to RCC.
Labour ministry officials said that to finalise the transition plan within the four weeks granted by Supreme Court, the working committee proposed Accord representatives sit with it on February 14 but the platform was yet to confirm.
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