• Tuesday, Sep 21, 2021
  • Last Update : 11:04 am

EU parliament adopts resolution on Accord extension

  • Published at 09:59 pm November 15th, 2018
rmg worker
Apparel workers at a garment factory that the EU parliament believes still needs safety improvement Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

For the first time the Government of Bangladesh and its Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) have demonstrated both in word and in deed that they have met the readiness conditions and that these types of Responsible Business Conduct initiatives might no longer be needed

The European Parliament on Wednesday passed a resolution urging the Bangladesh government to extend the tenure of the Transition Accord beyond November this year. It said significant work still remains unfinished on improving safety standards in the apparel sector.

According to a High Court order of Bangladesh, the tenure of Accord on Fire and Building Safety will expire by the November 30 deadline this year.  

On November 14, the resolution of the EU parliament called for a marked improvement in worker rights for garment workers – notably in the area of collective bargaining – in order for Bangladesh to continue getting trade privileges in the greater EU markets. 

 “The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was signed between global apparel brands, retailers and trade unions; whereas to date, less than half of the factories covered by the accord have completed adequate safety measures; whereas the accord expired in October 2018, despite significant work remaining to be done; whereas the accord was succeeded by a Transition Accord to apply for three years,” said the resolution.

“The Accord needs to be supported and all parties allowed to continue their work smoothly, including beyond November 2018.”

For the first time the Government of Bangladesh and its Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) have demonstrated both in word and in deed that they have met the readiness conditions and that these types of Responsible Business Conduct initiatives might no longer be needed, it added.

Expressing serious concern at the annulment of the Transition Accord, which is due to take effect on 30 November 2018, the EU resolution notes that the RCC does not yet have the capacity to monitor and enforce health and safety requirements, with serious implications for the safety and rights of factory workers.

The resolution urged the Bangladesh government to immediately recognise and implement the Transition Accord and show greater readiness to take over all of the functions of the accord. 

It also called on donors to support the Bangladesh government in order to make this possible and urged the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to continue their capacity-building work with the RCC.

Further, it called on the government of Bangladesh to adopt legislative changes to the Bangladesh Labour Act and its implementing rules to bring them into line with the ILO’s international labour standards, and to allow full freedom of association, to take the necessary steps to effectively address all acts of anti-union discrimination, including acts of violence and intimidation.

Meanwhile, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a platform of European apparel buyers , sought a stay order against a High Court decision which had asked it to depart the country on or before November 30, 2018.

After the Rana Plaza collapse, the Accord was formed in 2013 with a five year tenure, to improve safety standards in Bangladesh’s RMG sector. The five year tenure ended on  May 31, 2018. 

The Bangladesh government later extended its tenure by six months, which is to end by November 30 this year.

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