Government Policy

Retailers, unions extend Bangladeshi apparel workers’ safety accord

Negotiations between major global retailers and trade union signatories to the former Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh have resulted in an agreement.

The pact will continue legally binding commitments to workplace safety in Bangladesh and promises to expand the programme to other countries.

The new agreement – the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry – takes effect on September 1 this year, according to a media statement.

Like its predecessor agreement, this is a legally binding agreement between companies and trade unions to make ready-made garments (RMG) and textile factories safe.

The renewed agreement advances the fundamental elements that made the Accord successful, including respect for freedom of association, independent administration and implementation, a high level of transparency, provisions to ensure remediation is financially feasible, Safety Committee training and worker awareness programme, and a credible, independent complaints mechanism.

In Bangladesh, the agreement is already implemented by the independent national tripartite RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) – consisting of brands, unions and industry.

New features of the International Accord include a commitment to focus on the health and safety programme in Bangladesh, and on building a credible industry-wide compliance and accountability mechanism.

A commitment to expand the work of the International Accord based on feasibility studies, an option to expand the scope of the agreement to address human rights due diligence and an optional streamlined arbitration process to enforce the Accord’s terms are part of the agreement.

Starting today, the trade union signatories, IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union will join along with leading brands into this new agreement.

On September 1, the Accord will announce the first wave of brands and retailers that have signed the agreement.

Source: United News of Bangladesh