• Thursday, Oct 22, 2020
  • Last Update : 09:20 pm

Accord closes Bangladesh operations

  • Published at 10:43 pm May 31st, 2020
RMG factory
File Photo: A group of women working at a garment factory in Bangladesh Claudio Montesano Casillas

All the employees of Accord's Dhaka office will now work under the RSC

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh shut down its operation in the country on Sunday and handed over the charges to the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC).

“My client Stitching Bangladesh Accord Foundation is going to closed all its activities in the country from May 31,” said Supreme Court lawyer Barrister Omar H Khan, through an advertisement in different newspapers on Saturday, on behalf of Accord.

All the government and non-government organizations as well as individuals are requested to close formalities with the Accord, it added.

From now on, however, all the employees of Accord's Dhaka office will work under the RSC, which is based out of Amsterdam but has an office here too.

“On 1 June 2020, the RSC will officially perform the work that previously been performed by the Accord Bangladesh liaison office,” Rob Wayss, executive director of Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, told Dhaka Tribune.

Effective June 1, the employees of the Accord Bangladesh liaison office are employees of the RSC. Accordingly, the RSC will bear the expenses of the RSC employees, said Rob.

The application of fire, electrical, and structural safety standards in the RMG factories in Bangladesh has improved dramatically and positively since May 2013, the outgoing Accord executive director also said, commenting on safety standard of RMG sector.

The Accord is confident that improvements to RMG factory safety and health and the completion of factory safety remediation derived from previous inspections shall be supported and completed under the RSC, he added.

According to Accord, which is also based out of the Netherlands, there are about 150 employees in its Bangladesh office and they will work with the RSC as per the agreement.

In January, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Accord's steering committee had finalized RSC's formation at a meeting in Dhaka.

The two sides signed a transition agreement that included agreement on the Articles of Association pertaining to the RSC. As per the agreement, Accord was supposed to leave Bangladesh by May and handed over the responsibilities to RSC.

From June 1, RSC will officially start doing the work that the Accord Bangladesh liaison office has been doing, Rob Wayss, executive director of Accord, told Dhaka Tribune.

Effective June 1, Accord Bangladesh liaison office employees are employees of the RSC, he said. "Accordingly, the RSC will bear the expenses of the RSC employees." 

The application of fire, electrical, and structural safety standards in the country's RMG factories has improved dramatically and positively since May 2013, said Rob. 

The Accord is confident that improvements to RMG factory safety and health and the completion of factory safety remediation derived from previous inspections shall be supported and completed under the RSC, he added.

After the collapse of Rana Plaza in 2013, Accord, an initiative of European RMG retailers, embarked on their work in Bangladesh's 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, 2019.

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

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

What is RSC?

The RSC is a national supply chain initiative that aims to unite the garment manufacturing industry, various apparel brands, and trade unions to ensure sustainable development in Bangladesh's RMG sector, by carrying forward the significant accomplishments on workplace safety.

The RSC was formed to take over the activities of Accord and Alliance that they have been carrying out to improve the safety standards in the RMG factories of Bangladesh.  

The council 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 also operate under the laws of the country.

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