All policies and procedures developed by the Accord have been carried over to the RSC, the BGMEA says
The Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has expressed its disappointment over a report published last week by The Guardian, titled "Bangladesh clothing factory safety deal in danger, warn unions."
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said in a letter sent to The Guardian on Thursday that the apparel association is “extremely disappointed” to see that global trade unions and their affiliated parties have been spreading misinformation and maligning the role of BGMEA in the tripartite organization of RMG Sustainability Council (RSC).
"The RSC, which was set up to carry forward the achievements made by the Accord on workplace safety in Bangladesh, is governed by an equal number of representatives from brands, manufacturers and trade unions,” the letter reads.
All policies and procedures developed by the Accord have been carried over to the RSC, the BGMEA said, adding the RSC is a consensus-based decision-making body without any majority voting.
"The RSC is fully committed to a high level of transparency to allow all relevant stakeholders to monitor remediation at a factory-by-factory level. There has not been a single proven case of any manipulation by the BGMEA of the RSC process," the letter adds.
Faruque Hassan, the recently elected president of the BGMEA, further said that various parties are continuing to spread rumours and international media are publishing those without even taking a comment from the industry or brands.
"The BGMEA has the greatest respect for the global trade unions and their affiliates. At the same time, we, from the industry side, strongly stand by the principles on which the RSC was founded. It is a national initiative with global standards.
“It is not going to be commanded by any external authority," the letter reads.
The BGMEA also said that it should be crystal clear to all parties that they are committed to a safe and secure industry for workers, for the owners and for the brands who are sourcing from Bangladesh.
“However, we will not be the subject to harassment and bullying by the external forces," the garment lobby added.
The RSC resumed inspections in September last year and has managed to accomplish 1,821 inspections in 904 factories. It has conducted ICU Deep Dive in 202 factories, the BGMEA said.
During the pandemic, with hard work and without all resources of the Accord, the RSC has performed 75 factories' certification independently, whereas in seven years the Accord issued recognition letter to 280 factories.
The letter also mentioned various steps taken by BGMEA to ensure safety and other measures taken for the benefits of the workers.
"We are vigorously promoting social dialogue in our factories, in addition to mandatory formation of Workers Participation Committee and Safety Committees. Many more initiatives are under consideration to make our manufacturing process transparent, accountable, and responsible," it mentioned.
"Bangladesh has significantly moved towards sustainable and green manufacturing having 138 LEED green factories, 39 of those are Platinum, certified by the United States Green Building Council. 13 among top 20 ranking LEED certified factories around the world are located in Bangladesh, and 500 more factories have registered for certification," the letter further reads.
The BGMEA said any irresponsible propaganda against the RMG industries would ultimately harm the workers most.