The government has recently formed a working committee to finalise a time bound transition plan for Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a platform of European brands and buyers, for handing over its (Accord) readymade garment factory safety responsibility to a national body.
The committee headed by a labour ministry additional secretary and comprised of representatives of Department of Inspection for Factories and Establish ments, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Accord signatories would hold its first meeting on January 28.
In September, last year the Accord had submitted a transition plan involving six phases without setting any timeframe to wind up its operations from the country.
The government asked the Accord to submit a time bound plan as the tenure of the platform ended in May, 2018. The government, however, allowed it a six-month transition period that expired in November last year.
The High Court asked the government not to extend the Accord in Bangladesh beyond November 30, 2018 until further order after hearing a writ petition filed by a garment factory owner.
A senior government official said that the Supreme Court allowed the Accord up to February 18 this year in Bangladesh and hopefully the working committee would be able to prepare a transition plan for the platform by that time.
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.
Accord officials said that the Supreme Court on January 21 granted four weeks of additional time to the platform to continue the ongoing discussions with the Bangladesh government and BGMEA on support for the national body, Remediation Coordination Cell, and transition of Accord works to RCC.
Meanwhile, global stakeholders including buyers, trade unions and investors have been pressing the Bangladesh government to allow operations of Transition Accord until the ‘rigorous readiness’ of a national body to take over the factory safety responsibility.