CCC again bats for Accord ahead of apex court hearing

BDApparelNews Desk
16 May 2019  

Logo of Bangladesh Accord.

Logo of Bangladesh Accord.

International labour rights group Clean Clothes Campaign has voiced out for Bangladesh Accord, the factory remediation agency of European buyers, ahead of Supreme Court hearing scheduled for May 19 on its extension of operation.

In a statement issued May 15, 2019, Clean Clothes said the safety program established by Accord six years ago in Bangladesh has saved lives and stopped retaliation across hundreds of apparel factories in the country.

It said, the independent mechanism of Accord that allows garment workers to directly raise safety issues is making factories safer and empowering workers to advocate for their own safety is now at peril because Bangladesh authorities do not want Accord to continue.

The success of the complaint mechanism run by the Accord in Bangladesh – trusted by workers for its independence and its effectiveness – is one more reason why the program should remain in Bangladesh and continue to operate independently until the government and local institutions are ready to take on the task, it said.

“The Accord’s complaint mechanism radically reduces the possibility of another Rana Plaza,” says Laura Gutierrez of Worker Rights Consortium. “The morning of the Rana Plaza collapse, workers who saw cracks in the walls tried to refuse to enter the eight-story building, but were forced to go to their sewing machines under threat of losing their month’s salary.”

“The government’s first attempt at establishing a complaint mechanism does not live up to scrutiny. There is a complaint form and contact information on a website, as well as a mobile app to submit complaints, but these do not allow anonymity. This mechanism reports only 25 received complaints since 2014 of which 13 were resolved, compared to 1,329 complaints received by the Accord during the same time period,” says Christie Miedema of Clean Clothes Campaign.

“The success of the complaint mechanism shows that, combined with the training program which educates workers on how to report potential safety violations, it is a necessary, life-saving complement to the Accord’s inspections program and a system to be emulated with the same levels of independence, transparency, and legitimacy in other countries and beyond the field of building safety,” said Elena Arengo of the International Labor Rights Forum in the statement.

With a new High Court ruling on the future of this program due on May 19, the four witness signatories to the Accord are once more stressing the need to continue the independent work of the Accord until the local regulatory mechanism has proven ready, it concluded.