US: AAFA urges Senate to modify Bangladesh provisions
The AAFA highlighted two provisions of the proposed FY 2015 Defence Appropriations legislation
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is urging the US Senate to modify provisions of its Defence Appropriations legislation for Bangladesh to offer a more inclusive approach.
In an open letter, the organisation highlighted two provisions of the proposed FY 2015 Defence Appropriations legislation that it says, as currently drafted, would negatively impact the Department of Defense, the military exchanges, and the American companies who supply them.
The first provision requires military exchanges who source garments from Bangladesh to join the Bangladesh Accord, and only contract with companies who are members of the Accord.
The second requires the Department of Defense to require licensees who source in Bangladesh to join the Accord.
"While these provisions seek to address the concerns we all share about building and worker safety in Bangladesh, they unfortunately ignore the work that is being done in Bangladesh by other organisations, such as the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety," the AAFA wrote.
"Focusing on only one organisation picks favourites and undermines a cooperative relationship that has been recognised by other parts of the US Government as well as by international agencies, such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)."
The AAFA said it would counsel a "more inclusive" approach, particularly given the Alliance and the European-based Accord have developed "an important cooperative relationship" in areas such as inspections, worker empowerment, and training.
"While we have a long way to go to cultivate a sustainable worker safety culture in Bangladesh, we have made important strides and achieved considerable success in the past year," the AAFA noted.
"These gains have been made primarily because the two main organisations charged with improving worker safety - the Alliance and the Accord - are working with eachother, and with other stakeholders, including labour unions and the Bangladeshi government."
The AAFA added that it "looks forward" to crafting a measure that "supports collaboration by all parties" in Bangladesh.
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