Global brands under pressure to join second-phase Accord

BGMEA working to form separate platform

| Updated: October 22, 2017 15:22:33

Global brands under pressure to join second-phase Accord

Two international rights groups are putting pressure on global garment brands to join the second phase of Accord by October 05 next amid strong opposition from local apparel-makers.


IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union have written to the existing Accord brands to be part of the 2018 Bangladesh Accord targetting to bring more than 1,160 local garment factories under scrutiny during the extended period.


Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was formed immediately after the Rana Plaza building collapse to ensure workplace safety in the country's readymade garment (RMG) sector and its tenure would expire in May in 2018.


More than 200 global brands are signatories to the existing Accord and to date only 30 brands including H&M, C&A, Inditex, Adidas, Loblaw and Primark have signed the 2018 Accord out of its existing more than 200 brands.


The two global unions are calling on brands to sign up the Accord by October 5, 2017 in time for the World Day for Decent Work on October 7.


"Our work must continue in Bangladesh because the Accord is still the only credible option to ensure structural integrity and fire safety in garment factories there," Jenny Holdcroft, IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary said in a statement.


"Not enough factories have been fully remediated and too many life-threatening safety issues remain uncorrected," she noteds.


Unions, non-governmental organiations and brands announced the first Bangladesh Accord in the weeks following the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, which claimed the lives of more than 1,100 workers, injuring 2,500 more.


Under the first Accord, engineers carried out fire, electrical and structural safety inspections at more than 1,800 factories, identifying 118,500 hazards.


Some 79 per cent of the initially identified workplace dangers have been remediated.


"While many brands talk about supply chain transparency and social responsibility, those are just empty words without accountability," said Christy Hoffman, Deputy General Secretary of UNI.


"The Bangladesh Accord is the only platform that is legally binding, and its track record of life-saving remediation is proof of the effectiveness of this model."


The new 2018 Accord builds on achievements of the first Accord and maintains the ground-breaking, legally-binding framework and commitment to transparency, the statement said adding it also adds new worker protections and ensures that many more factories will be inspected and renovated, as signatory brands add suppliers.


An important element of the 2018 Accord is to work towards handing over its functions to an appropriate national regulatory body once that is in place, it added.


Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is working to form a separate platform namely 'Sonman' to take over the responsibility of the two Western retailers platforms-Accord and Alliance once their tenure expires in the middle of next year.


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