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30 Apr 2021

Simon Glover, Ecotextile News

Bangladesh: Campaigners call for new legally binding workplace safety agreement to address deadly hazards still present in garment factories supplying major global brands

“Bangladesh factories ‘still deadly’ – report”, 30 April 2021

Campaigners calling for a new legally-binding agreement on workplace safety in Bangladesh's garment industry have published a report which they claim highlights "deadly safety hazards" at factories producing for major apparel brands and retailers.

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), trade unions and other groups are concerned that the legal agreement which supports the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is set to end.

The Accord … has … been replaced … by … the Readymade Sustainability Council (RSC).

But the legal agreement behind it remains in effect until May 31 and campaigners fear factory safety will then suffer as it says the RSC does not include legal requirements on brands to ensure conditions in factories are safe for workers.

They are calling on brands and retailers to sign a new, legally-binding agreement that would allow the Accord’s work to be extended and its model to be expanded to other countries.

However, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), which was instrumental in the creation of the RSC, insists such an agreement is not needed and that the new body is fit for purpose.

The report is the work of four witness signatories to the Accord - the CCC, the International Labor Rights Forum/Global Labor Justice, the Maquila Solidarity Network, and the Worker Rights Consortium.

It says that a lot of progress has been made to make factories safer, under the Accord, with the majority of safety hazards being corrected. But it adds that many important safety fixes have yet to be completed or verified…