Close on heels of media reports that Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (the platform of European retailers) was allegedly going slow in handing over the RMG factory safety monitoring responsibility to the Government-formed body Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC), reports are now emerging that the buyer’s body has started the handover process.
As part of the process, Accord had reportedly handed over the responsibility of 20 garment factories to Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) on Wednesday. Of the 20 units, 12 are located in Dhaka, five in Gazipur, and rest three are reportedly in Chittagong.
“These factories have completed the remediation of safety hazard findings from Accord’s initial fire, electrical and structural safety inspections,” maintained Accord in its handing over document to RCC.
It may be mentioned here that as per some media reports which quoted concerned officials, the European buyer’s platform was reportedly ‘dilly-dallying’ the handover process earlier.
“…Accord is yet to hand over any factory to the RCC and the platform has not given us any further date for starting the handover process,” reportedly stated Additional Secretary of Labour Ministry Syed Ahmed while speaking to the media while the Project Director of RCC Aminur Rahman on his part reportedly said, “We are waiting to take over the safety monitoring responsibility of readymade garment factories from Accord in phases but the buyer’s platform is dilly-dallying in handing over the factories to the RCC.”
Bangladesh Government formed the RCC back on May 14 with curtains closing on the five-year term of third-party factory remediation platforms. Currently, the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) is heading the RCC.
The government is confident that it has adequately built capacity of the DIFE to handle the remaining factory structure compliance work. In total, 100 engineers have been employed jointly by the government and International Labour Organisation (ILO) to ensure structural, fire, electricity safety and overall workplace environment at factories.
DIFE Inspector General Md Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan told Apparel Resources that his institution is fully capable of handling the factory remediation process. So far, it scrapped licenses of 1,500 factories and is pursuing to take strict noncompliance action against 219.
A top level official of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) told Apparel Resources that the apparel manufacturers were eagerly waiting for Accord and Alliance to exit. “Now that their time have come to a close, they are not willing to leave. They have been pulling strings everywhere to remain a few more years.”