Accord starts handover of responsibility next week

Monira Munni | Published: October 10, 2018 10:34:25 | Updated: October 11, 2018 11:15:44

FE file photo used only for representational purpose

The global buyers' platform accord will start the process to hand over responsibility of its ongoing safety activities in the country's ready-made garment (RMG) factories to the authority concerned from next week, sources said.

Initially, it will hand over details of about 25 garment factories that have already completed the work for fixing post-inspection safety flaws, but currently do not have any business with the Accord signatory brands and retailers, they added.

The decision came after a meeting of the Transitional Monitoring Committee (TMC), held at the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Tuesday, headed by its secretary Afroza Khan.

Leaders from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), representatives from various brands, trade unions and International Labour Organisation (ILO), among others, were present in the meeting.

The TMC was formed last year with representatives from Accord brand signatories, unions, BGMEA, BKMEA and the government to assess whether Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) is ready to take over tasks of the Western retailers' platform, based on the agreed-upon objective criteria.

When asked, BGMEA President Md Siddiqur Rahman told the FE, "Accord will start the responsibility handover process from October 15 through transferring documents of about 25 garment factories."

A seven-member technical committee would be formed, which would report to the TMC, and it will decide the next course of action, he added.

It has been decided to form the proposed committee with representatives from the government, BGMEA, BKMEA, Accord and ILO. It will oversee whether RCC is functioning efficiently and transparently, another meeting source said.

Accord handed over a six-phase transitional plan to the government on September 28 to conclude its ongoing workplace safety activities in the local RMG sector without outlining any timeframe.

Another plan was presented by the government in Tuesday's meeting, fixing the overall handover process deadline by November 30, he further said.

Another meeting source, quoting the Accord representatives, said it would not be possible to hand over all the activities by November 30, as the remediation process of all the factories concerned was yet to be completed.

A meeting of the Accord steering committee will be held on Friday, and it will give feedback on the overall process by Monday, he added.

Accord, a coalition of more than 200 global apparel brands, retailers and rights groups, so far inspected the fire, electrical and structural integrity in some 1,600 garment factories.

Of these, about 172 units completed full post-inspection flaw-fixing work, while 171 faced business termination due to their failure to fix safety-related flaws.

A total of 89 per cent progress has been recorded in all factories, according to sources.

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