Bangladesh’s apparel industry not ready to let Accord leave: CCC

BDApparelNews Desk
7 March 2019  

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

Bangladesh’s apparel industry is not ready to let Accord leave, global rights group for apparel industry workers Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) has said.

A garment factory fire on March 4 in Ashulia confirms Bangladeshi inspection agencies are not yet up to their task, the group said in a press release issued March 6, 2019.

“This tragic incident happened during a period of uncertainty and negotiation about the future of the Accord: the one international safety programme that has significantly improved worker safety in the garment industry since the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse,” it said.

“This week’s fire confirms that, despite the Bangladesh government’s assertions to the contrary, national inspection bodies are not yet ready to take over this important work.”

They alleged, Bangladesh’s local inspection bodies approved the factory, which was reopened in a new name and banner, knowing that the owners had repeatedly failed to address alarming safety hazards when requested.

Ineke Zeldenrust of Clean Clothes Campaign says: “In light of the national inspection bodies’ lack of capacity once more demonstrated by this fire, and further exacerbated by the fact that they also carry the responsibility for all other industrial buildings in the country, at this time any handover of Accord covered factories to these bodies would be extremely irresponsible. There can be no further transfer of responsibilities until both the government and the Accord have fully remediated all factories under their purview.”

The witness signatories to the Bangladesh Accord – Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network and Worker Rights Consortium – call upon the government of Bangladesh to respond to this fire by publicly and unconditionally supporting the Accord’s life-saving work in Bangladesh until the job started since the Rana Plaza collapse is fully completed, it said.

Liana Foxvog of International Labor Rights Forum says: “This fire should be an incentive for the government of Bangladesh to put its own shop in order: speeding up and improving follow-up inspections, enforcement, and transparency. The Accord in turn should make haste in implementing its plan to broaden its scope to include boilers and related industries, and continue to offer its support to build up national inspection capacity. The Accord should also seriously investigate complaints from factory owners about unfair pricing that restricts remediation efforts.”