The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Accord on Fire Safety in Bangladesh have finalised the establishment of RMG Sustainability Council and have signed an agreement over the transition of Accord’s responsibility to the RSC.
The BGMEA and the European Union retailers’ platform Accord in a meeting on Tuesday signed the deal, agreeing to the articles of association for the RSC with the aim of transferring all major functions of the Accord office in Bangladesh to the RSC before May 31, 2020 on some conditions.
The conditions include maintenance of existing transparency with full public disclosure of inspection results and remediation activities and continuation of Accord’s safety and health complaints mechanism independently and autonomously.
BGMEA president Rubana Huq, acting Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Mohammad Hatem and Accord deputy director Joris Oldenziel, among others, were present at the signing ceremony.
Following the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 23, 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, the buyers and brands of EU formed the Accord to improve the workplace safety in the Bangladesh’s apparel sector for five years that ended in May, 2018.
The platform wanted an extension for three more years but the government did not allow it.
As per a High Court directive, the Accord would be eligible to run its operation in Bangladesh until May, 2020.
‘The RSC is an unprecedented national supply chain initiative, uniting industry, brands and trade unions to ensure a sustainable solution to carrying forward the significant accomplishments made on workplace safety in Bangladesh,’ said a joint statement issued by the BGMEA and the Accord on Wednesday.
It said that the RSC would be governed by a board of directors consisting of an equal number of representatives from industry, brands and trade unions.
The RSC would operate within the regulatory framework of the laws of Bangladesh, closely cooperating with and supporting the regulatory functions of the government of Bangladesh and it would retain all health and safety inspections and remediation, safety training and complaints handling functions currently carried out by the Accord, the statement said.
All parties agreed that all operations, staff, infrastructure, and functions of the Accord office in Dhaka would be transferred to the RSC and it would appoint a chief safety officer, retaining the same independence, autonomy, authorities, and reporting requirements practiced by the Accord.
The statement also said that factories currently covered by the Accord would be carried over to the RSC, retaining their remediation status and any outstanding remediation requirements as per the factory’s corrective action plan.
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