• Monday, Jan 27, 2020
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Accord leaves by May

  • Published at 04:27 pm January 15th, 2020
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File Photo: Female RMG workers Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

As per the agreement, the RSC will act as a permanent national monitoring safety compliance system for the Bangladesh RMG industry

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh will leave Bangladesh by the end of May of this year and be replaced by the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC).

On Tuesday (14 January), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the steering committee of the Accord finalized the formation of the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) at a meeting in Dhaka. 

The two sides signed a transition agreement that included agreement on the Articles of Association pertaining to the RSC.

Both the party also agreed to follow the existing procedures concerning Safety and Health-related complaints established under the Accord. 

“The RSC is a national supply chain initiative that aims to unite the garment manufacturing industry, various apparel brands and trade unions to ensure a sustainable development in the county’s garment sector by carrying forward the significant accomplishments on workplace safety in Bangladesh,” said the BGMEA and Accord in a joint statement on Tuesday.

The RSC will be governed by a Board of Directors, consisting of an equal number of representatives from the garment industry, brands, and trade unions. The council will operate under the laws of Bangladesh, the joint statement further added.  

All health and safety inspections and remediation, training on safety procedures, and complaints handling procedures that are presently carried out by the Accord will be retained by the RSC, said the statement.

As per the ‘transition agreement’, documented decisions, policies and protocols of Accord will be carried over to the RSC, as these have been proven to be effective and expedient in handling issues concerning workplace safety.

Besides, all existing transparency features of the Accord will be maintained, including full public disclosure of inspection results and remediation activities.

Monitoring and supervision of the factories that are presently operating under the monitoring and supervision of the Accord shall be taken over by the RSC. 

Factories currently covered by the Accord shall be carried over to the RSC retaining their remediation status and any outstanding remediation requirements as per the factory’s Corrective Action Plan. 

After the collapse of Rana Plaza in 2013, Accord, an initiative of European RMG retailers, embarked on their work in Bangladesh readymade garment industry with the aim to improve factory safety standards within a five-year time frame, which ended in June, 2018.

Later, the government extended the organization’s tenure by six months to allow Accord to complete its remediation process and make a handover to the Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) to monitor the safety issues by November 30 of last year.

Afterwards, the High Court asked Accord to conclude its activities by November 30 of last year, based on a case filed by a Chittagong-based apparel factory Smart Jeans.

Later, the Accord was allowed to work till May 31, 2020.