CCC bats for Accord ahead of 6th Rana Plaza anniversary
A worker working in a readymade garments industry of Bangladesh.
Clean Clothes Campaign has reiterated the need for Accord’s continuation in Bangladesh saying that it is the only credible building safety programme in the country without which millions of factory workers might be subjected to threat again.
In a statement issued ahead of deadly Rana Plaza’s 6th anniversary, it said labour rights groups are calling on Bangladesh government to cease attempts to expel Accord and to urgently increase safety efforts for the factory buildings in the country.
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“Over the past two months, at least 95 people have died in preventable fires in buildings that were within the monitoring purview of the government of Bangladesh. The safety crisis is indisputable. An investigation by the Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence showed 97% of the 3,786 buildings surveyed in Dhaka to be risky or extremely risky,” it said.
Recent research by the Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network, and Worker Rights Consortium shows a shocking level of unreadiness by the government to assume responsibility for the 1,688 factories under the Accord, it said.
The 193 Accord signatories have a binding obligation to only source from Accord-verified factories. Cognizant of that obligation, brands have made clear that a premature termination of the Accord could endanger the safety of workers employed in the garment industry, which is a risk they would need to consider in their business decisions, it threatened.
“The forced closure of the Accord’s Dhaka office will cause brands to see the country as a far riskier place to produce,” said Laura Gutierrez of the Worker Rights Consortium. “This will have grim consequences for workers and factory owners alike.”
“The Accord remains the only credible instrument preventing factory incidents in a country where the government’s inspection agencies do not yet have the capacity or willingness to enforce safety measures,” said Lynda Yanz of the Maquila Solidarity Network.
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“Fortunately, apparel companies continue to recognise this, with two new brands signing onto the agreement last week. Companies that source from Bangladesh and think that less transparent or non-binding alternatives might provide the same level of protection for their workers, and brand reputation, risk seeing tragedy strike again in their supplier factories.”
A premature cessation of the Accord’s operations in Bangladesh would be a major setback for worker safety in the country, Clean Clothes said in the statement.
In the interest of protecting garment worker safety, the Bangladesh government and factory owners’ associations should work with the Accord to achieve agreement on a responsible transition plan that is conditional on the readiness of national inspection bodies before the next court hearing on May 19, it concluded.
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