Again, int’l pressure on Bangladesh for continuation of Accord
A garments worker in Bangladesh hoisting a placard in favour of factory reforms. Photo: Clean Clothes Campaign
With Accord’s extension hanging in the Supreme Court for a further order, international pressures are continuing to pour in – in support of the European buyers’ platform – and against the local authorities.
Clean Clothes Campaign, international rights organisation for apparel industry, issued a statement on December 10, 2018 stating that Bangladesh government wants to paralyse Accord and strip its independence.
Bangladesh government is using proceedings before the Supreme Court of Bangladesh to prevent the Accord from operating, thereby putting workers’ safety at risk, the statement read. “The government’s conditions, if accepted by the Supreme Court, would destroy the independence of the Accord by 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,” it added.
The global union signatories to the Accord – IndustriALL and UNI – and the four witness signatories – Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network, and Worker Rights Consortium – have called upon Bangladesh’s trading partners and brands to press local authorities against the move and for continuation of Accord.
A genuine transition plan for factory inspections, safety trainings, and a worker complaint mechanism will need much more time and genuine engagement by the government. It will not be possible unless the Accord is able to continue its operations without restriction. The Accord is a private contract that will remain binding upon the signatory brands until 2021, or until the RCC is demonstrably ready.
The Bangladesh Accord is widely considered by brands, multi-stakeholder initiatives, trade unions, NGOs, investors, government representatives and politicians to be the only credible safeguard for factory safety in Bangladesh.
International pressure mounted in the run-up to the court hearing for the Accord to be allowed to continue to operate in Bangladesh until such time as factory safety can be guaranteed by the government.
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