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2 agreements to improve safety in Bangladesh garment factories launched this week: "Accord on Fire and Building Safety" and "Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety"

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Article
5 October 2017

Bangladesh: Human Rights Watch urges govt. to publish reports on fire and building safety inspections of factories

Author: Prothom Alo Bangladesh

"Govt should publish reports on factories it inspects: HRW", 22 Sep 2017

Following a fire in Munshiganj, Human Rights Watch has urged Bangladesh to publish its inspection reports on how factories terminated from the Accord and Alliance are faring...[O]ver the past few years, the accord brands cut ties with 76 garment factories that failed to make their buildings safer. Similarly, the alliance brands terminated business with 158 garment factories. These factories are now the responsibility of government inspectors...Earlier this year, the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a legally binding agreement between clothing brands and unions, was renewed. The accord covers more than 1,600 garment factories. Under the revised agreement, the accord steering committee can opt in textile mills. This means the mills could also be subject to fire and building safety inspections, and management and workers could be trained on safety measures...

 

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Article
20 July 2017

Bangladesh Accord extended three years, strengthens protections of union organisation, health & safety protections of garment workers

Author: Garrett Brown, ScienceBlogs

"Bangladesh Accord extended three years - worker protections strengthened, proponents promote an 'alternative to standard CSR programs'", 18 Jul 2017

Two global unions, four labor rights organizations and 23 apparel brands and retailers agreed in late June to amend and extend the ground-breaking Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety that has led to safer working conditions for 4 million garment workers in the world’s #2 apparel producer.  The legally-binding agreement, initiated in 2013 following the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed 1,138 workers in Dhaka, is a success story that could improve working conditions in other countries and global supply chains. The new Accord agreement, which goes into effect in May 2018 when the current Accord agreement expires, strengthens several aspects of the original program. These include reinforced protections for workers against retaliation for expressing safety concerns and for seeking to organize a union; mandatory severance payments for factory closures; tightened requirements to correct identified hazards in a timely fashion; and improved dispute resolution between the brands and unions...The extension of the Accord beyond May 2018 and proposed scope revisions of the new Accord are strongly opposed by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI)...[refers to C&A, H&M, Inditex (Zara), Phillips-Van-Heusen Corp., Primark, Tchibi, KiK]

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Article
9 May 2017

Bangladesh: Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh releases its aggregated quarterly report on remediation progress at apparel factories covered

Author: Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

Four years on, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh takes stock of significant improvements and unresolved safety hazards at garment factories in Bangladesh. Entering the final year of the current agreement, a direct financial support program is launched to help factories complete remediation...looking beyond 2018, apparel brands and retailers and unions are in discussions on how to best ensure that safety regulations and safety rights in the RMG industry in Bangladesh are adequately upheld and further developed...key milestones...[include]...Remediation is close to completion at more than 400 Accord factories which have completed more than 90% of the remediation., 65 Factories have completed all remediation from initial inspections, Over 300 joint labour-management Safety Committees are being trained and equipped to monitor factory safety on a day-to-day basis., The independent and credible Accord safety complaints mechanism has resolved more than 90 safety complaints from workers and their representatives.

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Article
12 July 2015

Bangladesh: Accord signs co-operative agreement with Intl. Finance Corporation to provide loans for RMG factory safety improvements

Author: Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh...conducted....Inspections for fire, structural, and electrical safety...at... RMG...factories. Corrective action plans (CAPs) are developed to identify safety hazards at each factory...The IFC program...will provide $50 million in affordable terms loans to help fund RMG factory safety remediation...The IFC safety remediation loans program will be implemented with 5 Bangladesh partner banks. The Accord will contribute $250,000 to the initiative. The Accord will train the IFC partner banks on Accord inspections and CAPs and share information on remediation monitoring & verification of beneficiary factories. 

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Article
10 July 2013

Bangladesh Collapse: The Garment Workers Who Survived

Author: Julie McCarthy, NPR

It's been 2 1/2 months since the Rana Plaza collapsed on garment workers in Bangladesh, exposing abysmal safety conditions in the country's factories. On a recent trip to Bangladesh, I sought out the survivors of what was the in the history of the garment industry. An overwhelming number are women many in their early 20s.

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Article
10 July 2013

Govt decides to drop cases against RMG worker leaders [Bangladesh]

Author: M Rahman, Daily Star (Bangladesh)

The government decided to withdraw cases against some garment workers’ leaders and expedite investigation into the sensational workers’ leader Aminul Islam murder case in an effort to create an image abroad that it was working for the workers’ rights...The move comes against the backdrop of the suspension of trade privileges, known as the Generalised System of Preferences, for Bangladesh by the US on June 27 due to “’serious shortcomings” in safety and labour standards. The home ministry decided to withdraw16 cases filed against garment workers’ leader Kalpona Akhter and Babul Akhter...

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Article
10 July 2013

Rival Safety Agreements for Bangladesh Garment Factories Announced

Author: Richard Smallteacher, CorpWatch Blog

Two rival agreements that aim to improve safety in Bangladeshi garment factories are to be launched this week. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh’s Garment Industry was launched Monday while the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety is expected to launch Wednesday. The first is backed by a group of 75 retailers, mostly from Europe and the second is led by major U.S. retailers Gap and Walmart. While the first is legally binding, the second is voluntary. The two agreements come 11 weeks after Rana Plaza, a building that housed five garment factories, collapsed in Bangladesh on April 24 leaving some 1,129 dead.

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Article
7 July 2013

Major US names missing as retailers sign deal to improve Bangladesh safety [Bangladesh]

Author: Karen McVeigh, Guardian

The 75 signatories to the accord...will guarantee that in every case where unsafe conditions are found, funds will be made available for necessary safety upgrades...But only three US retailers have signed up to the plan. American firms are reportedly reluctant to join any industry accord that creates legally binding objectives...The failure of more US retailers to join the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh has led to criticism from unions and human rights groups. They say the European-led plan will make factories safer....However, leading North American retailers, including Walmart, will come together on Wednesday to announce details of a rival plan: the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

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