Two factories in Bangladesh producing clothes for global brands have become the first to complete safety recommendations made by inspectors from the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
On 20 May 2015, Accord engineers verified the successful completion of all remediation requirements stemming from initial inspections at two garment factories - Concord Fashion Export Ltd. and Jeacon.
Both the Accord-listed factories are located in the same building at South Shalna in Gazipur, Dhaka.
A statement from the Accord on the milestone, said:
“Nearly two years to the date after the signing of the Accord, completion and Accord verification of all initial remediation at these two inspected factories is a powerful indicator that the Accord is making a difference and that ready-made garment factories producing for Accord company and retailer signatories are becoming safe.”
The Accord was set up following the Rana Plaza factory building collapse in Dhaka, which killed over 1,100 people and injured 2,000 more. It is a groundbreaking legally binding agreement between global brands and retailers and trade unions, designed to build a safe and healthy Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry.
Accord inspectors have since inspected and made recommendations on more than 1,600 factories in Bangladesh, producing for 200 Accord signatories.
Accord chief safety inspector, Brad Loewen, said:
“I am very proud of the hard work our staff are doing to encourage factories, and to verify compliance. The remediation work is done by the factories and they are the ones who deserve the greatest acknowledgment. The end result is that garment workers are safe. That is what motivates us each and every day.
I hope that we will see dozens of these verified factories every month as we continue to follow up and verify.
IndustriALL and UNI Global Union were the key drivers in establishing the Accord. IndustriALL’s general secretary, Jyrki Raina, said:
This significant achievement is proof that cooperation between unions, factory owners and brands does lead to change. Staff at the Accord and factory owners must be congratulated in their determination to make real improvements in safety for garment workers.
Since Rana Plaza, organizing efforts by IndustriALL and its partners have led to 65,000 new trade union members in Bangladesh.
However, the burning issue of poverty wages still blights the Bangladeshi garment industry where the minimum wage is set at US$68 a month – one of the lowest in the world.
Increasing wages in Bangladesh as a priority for IndustriALL, and it is currently pushing for a living wage for garment workers through industry level bargaining agreements.