Accord & Alliance Actions

Shut-down RMG factories may take Softex course
Ibrahim Hossain Ovi

According to the labour laws, there is no provision of forming review panel to suggest closure of factories

  • Women seen working at a garment factory in Gazipur 
    Photo- Rajib Dhar

The apparel factories so far faced shut down or production suspension for non-compliance have not decided yet whether they would take legal measures like Softex Cotton Limited (Unit-2) to get rid of such actions by Alliance or Accord, which are working for improving factory condition.

Softex served a legal notice to Accord on Wednesday demanding compensation worth US$100 million against the damage the factory would have incurred since shutting down the factory on March 6. The legal notice claimed the factory inspection has not been done through following due process.

Owners of many of the ill-fated factories were also considering whether they would follow Softex in their efforts for a remedy, suggested telephone conversations with the entrepreneurs yesterday.

Few of them are, however, thinking twice amid fears it might risk future orders. What prevents them from taking legal course against one shut-down unit is to save orders for other units supplying to the same buyers.

“We don’t want to take risk on other units to save one unit,” said an entrepreneur of a shut-down factory. He said the brands are the members of either Accord or Alliance and they would follow the orders of the two platforms.    

Softex served the notice to Accord, Alliance, the labour department of the government, the inspection team of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) and BGMEA.

“The inspection did not go through due process. They are responsible for the closure of the factory,” Rezwan Selim, managing director of Softex Cotton Limited, told the Dhaka tribune yesterday.

“Only the labour department can ask for the factory closure after having inspection done by the Buet engineers. But Buet engineers did not inspect the factory.” 

According to the labour laws, there is no provision of forming review panel to suggest closure of factories, he added.

“I’m arguing with the inspection agency over the building code and hope, I’ll win,” said Shahabuddin Ahmed, managing director of Kent Garments, which faced closure on April 19. “If the argument on Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) fails to succeed, I will go for legal action.”

Another factory owner, who preferred not to be named, told the Dhaka Tribune: “I will take the decision for legal action after the negotiation, which is going on for fund to pay workers’ wages and for remediation as the Accord still did not provide any fund to the closed factories.”

According to BGMEA, 19 factories have so far faced production suspension as recommended by the Accord and Alliance. The factory closure left jobs of 14,325 workers at stake. 

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