The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the platform of more than 190 Europe-based brands, is finally leaving the country this May.
Representatives of the BGMEA and the Steering Committee of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (Accord), met in Dhaka on 14 January 2020 to finalize the establishment of the ‘RMG Sustainability Council (RSC)’ by signing a Transition Agreement and agreeing on Articles of Association for the RSC.
The RSC is an unprecedented national supply chain initiative, uniting industry, brands and trade unions to ensure a sustainable solution to carry forward the significant accomplishments made on workplace safety in Bangladesh. The RSC will be governed by a Board of Directors consisting of an equal number of representatives from industry, brands and trade unions.
The RSC will operate within the regulatory framework of the laws of Bangladesh, closely co-operating with and supporting the regulatory functions of the Government of Bangladesh. It will retain all health and safety inspections and remediation, safety training and complaints handling functions currently carried out by the Accord.
Accord was scheduled to leave at the end of its five-year tenure in May 2018, however, the platform wanted to stay on for three more years, which the government was opposed to. Accord took the matter to court and managed to win an extension until February 13, 2020.
But finally the platform is leaving Bangladesh this May, according to the transition agreement between BGMEA and Accord.
The transition agreement includes a number of important elements:
- Documented decisions, policies and protocols developed by the Accord will be carried over to the RSC as these have proven to be effective and expedient.
- All existing transparency features of the Accord will be maintained, including full public disclosure of inspection results and remediation activities.
- Factories currently covered by the Accord shall be carried over to the RSC retaining their remediation status and any outstanding remediation requirements as per the factory’s Corrective Action Plan.
- All operations, staff, infrastructure, and functions of the Accord Office in Dhaka will be transferred to the RSC.
- The RSC will appoint a Chief Safety Officer, retaining the same independence, autonomy, authorities, and reporting requirements practiced by the Accord.
- The Safety and Health complaints mechanism established under the Accord will continue to operate independently and autonomously.
The BGMEA and the Accord brands and trade unions look forward to working together in the RSC towards the joint goal of protecting RMG workers in safe factories, said BGMEA.