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January 15, 2020

New Bangladesh safety initiative takes next steps

Details have been finalised on Bangladesh's incoming new workplace safety initiative, the national RMG Sustainability Council (RSC), which will eventually take over from the Bangladesh Accord's factory safety and remediation efforts.

By Hannah Abdulla

Details have been finalised on Bangladesh’s incoming new workplace safety initiative, the national RMG Sustainability Council (RSC), which will eventually take over from the Bangladesh Accord’s factory safety and remediation efforts.

The Steering Committee of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (Accord) and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Export Association (BGMEA) yesterday (14 January) signed a transition agreement for the RMG Sustainability Council, and agreed its articles of association.

The RSC will ensure there is a sustainable solution to carry forward the accomplishments already made on workplace safety in Bangladesh. The RSC will be governed by a board of directors consisting of an equal number of representatives from industry, brands and trade unions.

It will operate within the regulatory framework of the laws of Bangladesh, closely co-operating with and supporting the regulatory functions of the Government of Bangladesh. In addition, it will retain all health and safety inspections and remediation, safety training and complaints handling functions currently carried out by the Accord.

The Transition Agreement includes a number of important elements:

  • Documented decisions, policies and protocols developed by the Accord will be carried over to the RSC as these have proven effective and expedient.
  • All existing transparency features of the Accord will be maintained, including full public disclosure of inspection results and remediation activities.
  • Factories currently covered by the Accord shall be carried over to the RSC retaining their remediation status and any outstanding remediation requirements as per the factory’s Corrective Action Plan.
  • All operations, staff, infrastructure, and functions of the Accord Office in Bangladesh will be transferred to the RSC.
  • The RSC will appoint a chief safety officer, retaining the same independence, autonomy, authorities, and reporting requirements practiced by the Accord.
  • The Safety and Health complaints mechanism established under the Accord will continue to operate independently and autonomously.

“The BGMEA and the Accord brands and trade unions look forward to working together in the RSC towards the joint goal of protecting ready-made garment (RMG) workers in safe factories,” read a joint statement.

As reported previously on just-style, the Accord will continue its operations in Bangladesh until the end of May 2020 – at which point it will transition its function to the RSC.

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