The government wants its Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) to oversee workplace safety and remediation but international stakeholders say they are not ready.

The government wants its Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) to oversee workplace safety and remediation but international stakeholders say they are not ready.

A decision on the future of the Bangladesh Accord has been pushed back until the new year, with the hearing now due to take place on 21 January.

It is the fourth time the Supreme Court of Bangladesh has adjourned a hearing on a petition filed by the Accord challenging a High Court directive asking it to end all activities in Bangladesh on 30 November.

The hearing was initially set to take place on 6 December, but was pushed back to 10 December – and then yesterday, when it was delayed until 21 January according to the Accord's Twitter page.

Last week, unions and worker rights groups argued the delays give extra time to the Bangladesh government to consider the Accord's response to constraints the government wants to impose on its operations.

This includes subjecting all Accord decisions to the approval of a government committee. Another condition would prohibit Accord inspectors from identifying any new safety violations, "effectively requiring them to ignore deadly hazards found during their inspections, such as faulty alarm systems, blocked fire exits, and cracks in structural columns." Yet another would prevent the Accord from taking any action against factory owners who threaten or fire workers for raising safety complaints.

The groups, including the IndustriAll Global Union, the Clean Clothes Campaign, the Worker Rights Consortium and the Maquila Solidarity Network, said the "highly obstructive constraints strip the globally-respected safety initiative of its ability to operate independently of government and employer control."

The government wants its Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) to oversee workplace safety and remediation once the Transition Accord ends – but international stakeholders fear the RCC is not yet prepared to take on the responsibilities of the Accord's inspection programme, despite the government's claims to the contrary.