Readymade garment makers are unhappy with the actions of European buyers’ group regarding business termination as the initiative suspended all the factories of a group finding faults in one unit of the units.
Recently, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has requested Accord on Fire and Building safety in Bangladesh, the EU buyers group, not to declare noncompliance all factories of a group due to fault in only one factory.
The trade body also urged the Accord to review its decision on Smart Group as the buyers platform in May this year declared ineligible four factories of the group to produce for Accord signatory companies due to fault in one factory.
Following the request from the BGMEA and Smart Group, the Accord suspended termination of the factories and asked to submit necessary documents to the platform for conducting verification inspection in the units.
In a statement, Accord said that the Smart Jeans had fabricated the concrete strength test results which were needed to determine what structural retrofitting was necessary for remediation.
‘This egregious act of fraud resulted in the Accord implementing an expedited escalation process where Smart Group RMG factories have become terminated factories and ineligible to produce for Accord signatory companies,’ the platform said.
It also said that the Accord has conditionally suspended the termination of the Smart Group factories as the group has taken punitive actions on the persons responsible for the fraud.
One of the BGMEA officials said that Accord can take punitive action against its supplier factories in which faults would be identified but they cannot take action against all the factories of a group due to fault in one factory.
Not only Smart Group, the Accord applied termination to all factories of the Victory Group, Kems Group and all factories of the owners of Jaycee’s Apparels Ltd and Sincere Knit finding faults in a factory.
The BGMEA leaders said that they were going to sit with the Accord on October 13 to discuss the issue as termination should not be applied to all factories of the group or same owner.
BGMEA vice president Mahmud Hasan Khan Babu on Wednesday told New Age that Accord should not suspend business ties with a group if fault was found in one of its unit. ‘They [Accord] can not do that,’ he said.
Babu said that they would sit with Accord on October 13 on the matter. ‘If they don’t listen, we will take legal action against them. Though, I hope that the matter will be resolved in the October 13 meeting,’ he said.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, in April 2013, European retailers formed the Accord undertaking a five-year plan which set timelines and accountability for inspections and training and workers’ empowerment programmes.
The initiative has so far inspected more than 1,600 RMG factories from where they procure products.