After months of delays and uncertainty, the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety has finally struck a deal with the Bangladesh Garment Employers Association (BGMEA), closing what seemed to be a never-ending battle concerning the future of its operations in the country. A memorandum of understanding written by the two entities and endorsed by the Government of Bangladesh was approved by the country’s Appellate Court yesterday.
Established in 2013 by 200 international fashion companies after the Rana Plaza building collapse, the Bangladesh Accord is an independent organization conducting safety inspections in garment factories. Last year, the Bangladesh government ordered the organization to cease its operations by November 30, claiming that its national regulatory body, the Remediation Coordination Cell, is fully capable of taking over their work. The Accord disagreed and a legal battle ensued.
Bangladesh Accord to leave the country in less than a year
According to the memorandum of understanding, the Bangladesh Accord has agreed to leave Bangladesh in 281 days. A new safety entity called RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) will be established during this period. It will be governed by a board consisting of representatives of the BGMEA, fashion brands and national trade unions. Once the Accord leaves Bangladesh, RSC will inherit both its staff and infrastructure. Additionally, the RSC should work in cooperation with the government of Bangladesh to ensure its work complements the work of the Remediation Coordination Cell.
“Over the course of this next year, the Accord in Bangladesh will work intensively with the BGMEA so that they gain an intimate knowledge of the Accord’s day-to-day work, operations, systems, protocols, data management, and disclosure related to the core functions of the Accord: inspections & remediation, safety training, safety complaint resolution, and public reporting”, said the Accord in a statement. The organization also stressed that its policy of full transparency will be maintained, with the results of its inspections and remediation activities made public on a website.
Picture: courtesy of Clean Clothes Campaign