An agreement between the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in the country has finally been struck in a move that paves the way for the Accord to continue its operations for a transition period of 281 days.
On 19 May 2019, the Accord presented a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to the Appellate Court in Bangladesh in relation to the High Court order which would have closed the Accord Bangladesh office operations. The MoU was reached by the Accord Steering Committee and the BGMEA and has the endorsement of the Government of Bangladesh.
The MoU will lead to the establishment of a national RMG safety entity to be called the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC). After the transition period of 281 working days, the RSC will take over all Accord Bangladesh operations and will inherit the Accord infrastructure and staff.
After the transition, the RSC will continue with factory inspections, remediation, follow up inspections, worker training, and the independent grievance mechanism, thus providing brands, trade unions and consumers with the necessary assurance that the vital elements of the Accord’s groundbreaking safety program will be preserved.
Importantly, all existing transparency features of the Accord will be maintained, including full disclosure of all results of inspection and remediation activities on a public website.
UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman said:
“The agreement between the Accord and the BGMEA is an important step forward in keeping worker safety at the forefront of the Bangladesh RMG industry. The lifesaving work of the Accord can continue.”
According to the case details, after the collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar on April 24, 2013, the Accord was formed on May 15 of the same year, with 20 European countries including North America and Australia, 200 brands and retail buyers and several trade unions.