Accord starts handing over factory remediation to state-run RCC

BDApparelNews Desk
25 October 2018  

A readymade garment worker. Photo: Financial Express

A readymade garment worker. Photo: Financial Express

After much dillydallying over its exit, Accord for Fire and Building Safety, the platform of European retailers and brands has finally started handing over its work to Bangladesh’s state-run Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC).

In the first phase, Accord handed over 20 factories situated in Dhaka, Gazipur and Chittagong to RCC on October 24, 2018, said a press note. These factories include 12 in Dhaka, five in Gazipur and the remaining three in Chittagong.

Bangladesh Government formed the RCC back on May 14 with curtains closing on the five-year term of third-party factory remediation platforms. Currently, the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) is heading the RCC.

The government is confident that it has adequately built capacity of the DIFE to handle the remaining factory structure compliance work. In total, 100 engineers have been employed jointly by the government and International Labour Organisation (ILO) to ensure structural, fire, electricity safety and overall workplace environment at factories.

DIFE Inspector General Md Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan said that his institution is fully capable of handling the factory remediation process. So far, it scrapped licenses of 1,500 factories and is pursuing to take strict noncompliance action against 219.

Following the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 2013 that killed more than 1,100 – mostly garment workers, a total of 3,780 garment factories were assessed for structural compliance under the three separate initiatives — European retailers’ platform Accord, North American buyers’ platform Alliance and the government-led and ILO-supported national initiative.

Out of the 3,780 garment factories, 1,549 were inspected under the national initiative. Of them, 531 were shut down, 69 relocated and 193 transferred to the lists Accord and Alliance.The factories that fall under the national initiative have completed 32 per cent remediation works;among them 11 factories have completed 100 per cent remediation.

A top level official of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) told Bangladesh Apparel News that the apparel manufacturers were eagerly waiting for Accord and Alliance to exit. “Now that their time have come to a close, they are not willing to leave. They have been pulling strings everywhere to remain a few more years.”

Bangladesh’s apparel manufacturers feel that they were harshly forced to pursue structural compliance under the programme of Accord and Alliance. The remediated factories had to count BDT 5-10 crore in costs for remediation. They say, now, after costly remediation, they are not getting fair pricing for their apparel items.