Dhaka, Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Works going on over Accord’s exit plan

2019-02-02

Staff Correspondent: A government-formed committee will sit next week to finalise the Accord's transition plan so that it can hand over its responsibilities to the authorities concerned, officials said.
The committee, headed by an additional secretary of the labour ministry, comprises representatives from the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC), the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and Accord.
The cell, which is currently overseeing the remediation activities in the garment factories inspected under the national initiative, has been set up to take over the functions of the western retailers' platforms-Accord and Alliance-once develops capacity.

In September last year, the Accord submitted an exit plan to the government to end its ongoing workplace safety activities in the country's readymade garment sector in six phases.
The Accord, however, didn't outline any timeframe in its transition plan for handing over its responsibilities to the relevant authority.
The Accord is expected to present a new plan with timeframe, the officials said, adding the committee will scrutinise and finalise it within the shortest possible time.
Accord has so far handed over responsibilities of its inspected 100 garment factories, which fully completed all the required remediation work, labour ministry officials said.
When asked, executive director of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh Rob Wayss, in an email, on January 21, said the Supreme Court granted four weeks' additional time to continue the ongoing Accord discussions with the ministries of labour and commerce and the BGMEA.
"The Accord is committed to reaching a resolution on these matters with the government of Bangladesh and the BGMEA during this time granted by the court," he added. The Accord, a platform of more than 200 global apparel brands, retailers and rights groups based mostly in Europe, was formed immediately after the Rana Plaza building collapse to improve the workplace safety in the country's apparel industry for five years that ended in May last. The government allowed a six-month extension until November 30 while the platform wants to stay for more time. Now the issue remained under judicial consideration. The platform has so far inspected fire, electrical and structural integrity in 1,600 garment factories. More than 90 per cent progress has been recorded in all factories, according to Accord's official website.
The pressure for further extension of Accord, however, is mounting from different quarters mainly to complete the tasks and continue with the ongoing safety culture for the long-term sustainability, industry people said.

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