Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety Executive Director Jim Moriarty has said the organization was considering the establishment of an independent body to monitor the progress on safety measures at RMG factories in the country.
The executive director of the platform of North American apparel buyers added that they will closely work with the Remediation Ordination Cell (RCC) to monitor safety progress during and following the introduction of the new body.
Moriarty made the comments while addressing a press conference to provide details on the progress of safety measures at Alliance affiliated factories, held in Dhaka on Thursday. Alliance inspection of the factories is set to end by June 30 this year.
“I am pleased to note that the Alliance continues to achieve unprecedented progress in our efforts to improve safety within the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh. Our factory remediation work is progressing at a rapid pace, and we remain on track to meet our stated commitments by the end of the year,” Moriarty, also a former US ambassador to Bangladesh, said.
“Our job now is to transfer our knowledge, best practices and worker safety innovations to credible partners who can own and continue this work locally, which is the only way it can truly be sustained over the long term. I believe the Alliance brand members will be interested in having a separate independent body, in other words a body that will sit here in Bangladesh but is not under any sort of governing umbrella,” he added.
“The RCC is just getting set up. They have not yet hired the company that is going to do the engineering management. More importantly, they are going to have a huge challenge. I don’t really see the RCC being able to do it,” the Alliance executive director further said.
However, Moriarty also stressed that discussions with the Bangladesh government, the BGMEA, the International Labor Organization (ILO), and other stakeholders to determine the exact details of the transition were still ongoing.
“We expect to announce details in the coming weeks,” he said.
“Make no mistake about it, Alliance member brands are committed to safety. The new safety monitoring organization, funded largely by member brands, will continue to require that factories meet the high safety standards implemented by the Alliance,” he added.
According to the latest data, a total 322 Alliance-affiliated RMG factories have completed Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) and are considered as substantially remediated. Furthermore, 88% of remediation is complete across all active factories, including 84% of the items most critical to safety.
The issue of workplace safety came under spotlight following the Rana Plaza disaster in April 2013. In the aftermath of the incident, Alliance signed a five-year, independent and legally-binding agreement between global brands, retailers and trade unions to build a safe and healthy Bangladeshi RMG Industry.