More than 200 trade union leaders from all corners of the world showed unanimous support for the Bangladesh Accord at IndustriALL Global Union’s Executive Committee meeting in Mexico on 29 and 30 November.
The Executive Committee passed a resolution calling on the Government of Bangladesh to “to guarantee that the Accord is able to continue its work in Bangladesh until such time as there is a competent national regulatory body with the capacity to take-over its functions.”
The High Court of Bangladesh has ordered that the Accord cease operating in Bangladesh as of November 30. The decision has been stayed pending a hearing on December 6 of the Accord’s appeal against the order.
The Accord on fire and building safety has been instrumental in improving the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh, after it was established in the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 that claimed over a thousand lives.
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 participated in safety training in over 1,000 factories.
The resolution goes on to state:
“The Government of Bangladesh has set up a Remediation Coordination Cell to regulate garment factory safety, however this body still lacks the capacity to take over the role of the Accord, despite claims to the contrary by the Government of Bangladesh.”
In a letter to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, IndustriALL’s general secretary, Valter Sanches, said that the work of the Accord must continue unconditionally. He added:
“We hope that the Government of Bangladesh can soon develop a robust national public health and safety inspection system. Nevertheless, until such time arrives, the Accord must continue to play a fundamental role in protecting the lives of millions of workers.”
IndustriALL has 20 affiliated trade union affiliates in the country, many of which are garment unions.