The Accord on Fire and Electrical Safety in Bangladesh (otherwise called Accord) will continue its operations beyond the May 2018 deadline in Bangladesh until a local regulatory body demonstrates its full capacity to inspect RMG factories and ensure remediation and safety of workers.
The platform of European RMG retailers made the announcement on Thursday.
The Bangladesh government agreed that the Accord continues to operate in Bangladesh until a set of rigorous readiness conditions are met by local regulatory bodies, an Accord statement claims.
Emerging from a meeting on October 19, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, however, told reporters that the Accord would get a six-month conditional extension to complete its safety improvement and remediation work in the country’s RMG factories.
The meeting was held among brands and trade union signatories to the Accord, Bangladesh ministers of commerce and labour and employment, and representatives from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and International Labour Organization (ILO).
Formed in 2013 with a five-year timeframe to improve safety in the factories, the Accord was supposed to be operational until May 31 of the next year. However, the platform of retailers now claims that it was decided in the meeting that the inspection tenure was extended up to 2021.
“Accord is ready to continue operations beyond May 2018 as all parties recognise that substantial additional capacity building is necessary before the responsibility to protect workers…can be…handed over to a national regulatory body,” the statement says.
It was decided in the meeting that the platform will continue to operate until a joint monitoring committee (to be comprised of Accord brand signatories, Accord trade union signatories, and representatives from BGMEA, ILO and the Bangladesh government) agrees that the stated conditions for handover of the responsibility are met, it reads, adding that the monitoring body will review the progress towards meeting the conditions on a bi-annual basis.
The conditions include demonstrated proficiency in inspection capacity, remediation of hazards, enforcement of law against non-compliant factories, full transparency of governance and remediation progress, and investigation and fair resolution of workers’ safety complaints.
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