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Bangladesh must keep Accord on Fire and Building Safety

19 November, 2018IndustriALL Global Union strongly urges the government of Bangladesh to petition the High Court to lift a restraining order that seeks to expel the Accord from the country on 30 November. 

***UPDATE: The Bangladesh High Court has postponed implementation of the restraining order until 6 December.***

The 2018 Transition Accord extends the lifesaving work of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety for another three years, or until Bangladesh’s own Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) is ready to take over its work inspecting safety at around 1,600 garment factories. 

However, IndustriALL, as a signatory to the Accord, is deeply concerned that the RCC does not yet have the capacity to continue Accord’s work, which has led to a dramatic improvement in safety in the Bangladeshi garment industry. 

Since it was established after the Rana Plaza factory collapse that killed over a thousand garment workers, the Accord has identified more than 100,000 fire, building and electrical hazards of which 89 per cent have been rectified. Over two million workers have been engaged in safety training in over 1,000 factories. 

Jenny Holdcroft, IndustriALL’s assistant general secretary, said:

“Despite immense progress, the work of the Accord is not complete. The RCC is not ready to take on the rigorous safety monitoring system currently implemented by the Accord.

“If the Accord is prevented from having an office in Bangladesh, it will continue to run from Amsterdam. The legally-binding provisions for the Transition Accord signed by almost 200 global fashion brands and retailers with unions will remain in place.” 

A resolution on 15 November by the European parliament called for the work of the Accord in Bangladesh to continue beyond the end of this month, and urged the government to take action to address anti-union discrimination, including acts of violence and intimidation that have become increasingly prevalent in the country.