The Financial Express

North America-based RMG platform closes BD activities

| Updated: June 09, 2020 12:16:39

- FE file photo used for representational purpose - FE file photo used for representational purpose

'Nirapon', a platform of North America-based apparel brands and retailers, has closed its activities in the country.

"Nirapon will continue its focus on safety while shifting to a more streamlined organisational structure based in North America. The restructure is effective on May 31," it said in a statement issued on May 29.

The platform, however, said it will continue to monitor safety in more than 600 factories via a new third-party monitoring organisation, to be announced later.

With the restructure, the organisation will shift to providing increased technical support with three main areas of focus - safety monitoring, training and helpline, it added.

A total of 21 global apparel brands along with more than a dozen of former Alliance-signatory members, including Gap, Walmart, JC Penny and VF, launched 'Nirapon' in March last year to oversee the ongoing safety, training and helpline efforts in the Alliance-listed 600 garment factories.

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety shut down its operations in the country's ready-made garment (RMG) sector after its transitional period ended on December 31, 2018.

As a consortium of 21 brands and retailers, working to promote a culture of safety in more than 600 apparel factories, safety monitoring will continue and be improved with a new third-party monitoring organisation, to be announced at a later date, the statement also said.

Safety monitoring will continue to include protocols that are part of the day-to-day factory operations, including structural, electrical, and fire safety, as well as the ongoing training of workers on fire and building safety, it added.

Incorporating the feedback from numerous factories, the fire safety training will shift from Local Training Providers (LTPs) to a local, trusted and competent organisation. They will work to streamline training and explore online options without compromising effectiveness.

The "Amader Kotha" helpline, a model for workers' reporting - not only in Bangladesh but around the world, will continue to operate and provide workers with a safe and anonymous outlet for reporting issues.

Moushumi Khan, the CEO since Nirapon's inception, will be departing the entity, and a new Chief Safety Officer (CSO) will be named at a later date, reflecting its more technical nature, the statement added.

With the announcement of Nirapon's closure, both the western retailers' platforms - Accord and Alliance - ended their safety activities in the country's RMG industry.

Both Accord and Alliance were formed immediately after the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed more than 1,100 garment workers in 2013.

The RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) took over the Accord's responsibilities on June 01, as extended tenure of the Western retailers' platform ended on May 31.


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