• The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety says it is making progress towards a collective agreement on worker safety.
  • A meeting will take place this week in Dhakat o discuss plans to form a successor safety monitoring organisation (SMO) that will continue the Alliance's services.
  • It says Alliance member brands are ready to partner with the Bangladesh Government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
The Alliance was founded in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed some 1,138 garment workers and injured more than 2,500 others

The Alliance was founded in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed some 1,138 garment workers and injured more than 2,500 others

As the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster nears, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety says it is making progress towards a collective agreement on worker safety with member brands ready and willing to partner with the government to establish a new locally-led safety organisation.

The board of directors of the 29-brand Alliance will meet in Dhaka this week to discuss plans to form a successor safety monitoring organisation (SMO) that will carry forward the Alliance's services once its five-year term draws to a close at the end of 2018. 

Founded in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013 that killed some 1,138 garment workers and injured more than 2,500 others, the Alliance performs independent inspections on the structural, electrical and fire safety of all factories from which its members source. Each factory is then provided with a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) designed to help it address safety issues and achieve compliance with Alliance safety standards.

It also provides technical advice and access to low-cost loans to assist factories with remediation and is due to expire in mid-2018. After this point, it will transition its work to locally-based partners and help set up a new safety organisation that will work to continue its factory safety monitoring and worker empowerment initiatives.

Today, the Alliance says remediation across more than 600 factories is 90% complete; 1.4m workers in nearly 1,000 factories have access to its Amader Kotha ('Our Voice') toll-free, confidential worker helpline; 1.5m workers have been trained in fire safety; and democratically elected Worker Safety Committees have been established in nearly 200 factories.

"Safe garment factories protect millions of workers, and they are critical to maintaining Bangladesh's standing as a world leader in garment production," says country director and Alliance executive director Jim Moriarty. "We are confident that reaching a multi-stakeholder agreement is the best way to continue supporting the safety and well-being of RMG workers across Bangladesh.

"Alliance member brands are ready to partner with the Bangladesh Government and the BGMEA to establish an independent, credible, locally led organisation that will continue our important work. We have seen progress in our talks to date, and we are encouraged by momentum toward a collective agreement on a sustained safety effort." 

Last month, Moriarty told just-style it is key the new safety organisation is "credible" and bases its safety decision on "technical matters" and, therefore could not be questioned or overturned by "external forces."

Credibility key to new Bangladesh safety organisation