The Accord recently expressed deep concern over the lack of progress in discussions with the Bangladesh Government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on its Bangladesh office operations and transition of its work to the remediation coordination cell of the department of inspections of factories and establishments (RCC-DIFE).
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, signed on May 15, 2013, is an independent, legally binding agreement between global brands and retailers, primarily from Europe, and trade unions in Bangladesh to build a safe and healthy readymade garment (RMG) industry.
Accord steering committee members have been engaged in discussions with government authorities and BGMEA since October 2017 on transition planning.
The Bangladesh Government and the BGMEA want Accord’s Bangladesh office operation to end as per the timeline, which disregards the lack of preparedness of the RCC-DIFE, Accord said in a statement.
“It is widely recognized by those following the RMG industry in Bangladesh, including the ILO [International Labour Organisation] and the Sustainability Compact partners, that the RCC-DIFE remains at its earliest stages of development and is not yet prepared to adequately regulate building and occupational safety and health at its current base of RMG factories,” the statement said.
The government claim about the RCC-DIFE being capable of regulating safety at its own base of RMG factories and the near 1,700 Accord-covered factories is not supported by demonstrable evidence of such capabilities, according to Accord.
Accusing the Bangladesh Government and BGMEA of not negotiating with the Accord Steering Committee a responsible and sustainable transition plan, the statement said the reputation of the country’s RMG industry is at stake.