Bangladesh: Accord reports on factories' inspections, labour rights advocates say it's a long way from success

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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
28 May 2015

Bangladesh Accord announces first factories to complete safety recommendations

Author: Industriall Global Union

On 20 May 2015, Accord engineers verified the successful completion of all remediation requirements stemming from initial inspections at two garment factories - Concord Fashion Export Ltd. and Jeacon...The Accord was set up following the Rana Plaza factory building collapse in Dhaka, which killed over 1,100 people and injured 2,000 more. It is a groundbreaking legally binding agreement between global brands and retailers and trade unions, designed to build a safe and healthy Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry...However, the burning issue of poverty wages still blights the Bangladeshi garment industry. 

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Article
20 May 2015

Bangladesh: Second anniversary of the Accord

Author: Industriall Global Union

In May 2013, IndustriALL Global Union, Uni Global Union and global garment brands signed an unprecedented agreement to make garment factories safe in Bangladesh, following the Rana Plaza tragedy...With more than 200 company signatories and 1,500 factories covered by the agreement, the Accord has embarked on a large-scale effort to identify and resolve all major safety risks in these factories...Two years on, the Accord has made important progress towards making the factories safe. But if the Bangladeshi garment industry is to be truly sustainable, we also need strong unions that are not constantly under attack. IndustriALL is relentless in pursuing our goal to organize the garment industry in Bangladesh and to fight for a living wage for all garment workers.

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Article
28 October 2014

Inspections are not enough to fix garment factories in Bangladesh

Author: Sarah Labowitz, New York Univ. Stern Center for Business & Human Rights, in Guardian (UK)

Inspections are an important first step in making factories and workers safe, but they are not enough. Eighteen months after Rana Plaza, there are two major unanswered questions pertaining to factory safety in Bangladesh: 1) how big is the total universe of factories and facilities producing for the export market, and 2) how will factories actually be fixed?...There is no authoritative figure for the number of factories producing for the export market...While the Accord and the Alliance both have textual commitments to inspect subcontracting facilities, there is little evidence that this is happening in practice. Factories that fall outside these two initiatives are the responsibility of the government, which lacks the capacity to inspect – much less fix – unsafe factories....The second unanswered question is how to fund factory upgrades or relocation. Accord and Alliance inspections have identified thousands of deficiencies in the factories that fall within their inspection programs. But to date, none of the major brands or retailers has made a public commitment to fund the upgrades and repairs that are needed.

 

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Article
28 October 2014

The Bangladesh Accord factory audits finds more than 80,000 safety hazards

Author: Alan Roberts, Executive director for intl. operations, Accord on Fire & Building Safety, in Guardian (UK)

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh...recently completed the initial inspections at more than 1,100 factories covered under the agreement, within the agreed time line of end September 2014....More than 80,000 safety issues were identified that needed to be resolved. Many of the corrective actions such as reducing weight loads and adhering to load management plans are already being implemented and monitored...inspectors have also identified more substantial safety requirements such as installing fire doors and automated fire alarm systems, establishing fire protected exits from factory buildings, and strengthening of columns in the buildings....now that the inspections have been carried out, the next challenge for the Accord is finalising and implementing corrective action plans, which should happen in the coming months. 

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Article
28 October 2014

The cost of garment factory repairs in Bangladesh

Author: Sarah Labowitz, New York Univ. Stern Center for Business & Human Rights, in New York Times (USA)

The average cost of factory repairs is $250,000, the total cost to make all of these inspected factories safe will exceed $400 million. In addition, the universe of factories these programs have monitored is much less than the total of 5,000 to 6,000 factories and facilities we estimate to be producing garments for export. The system still includes a lot of risk for workers and companies in the facilities that fall outside the scope of these agreements...And while the International Finance Corporation talks about making low-cost loans, it is demanding that Western brands and retailers guarantee these loans, an unlikely result. The real issue is who is going to pay these huge repair and replacement costs....What Bangladesh needs is a global fund that pools resources from the global brands, local manufacturers, Western governments and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Acting alone, not one of these entities has the will or resources to get the job done. But together they may just succeed.

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Article
28 October 2014

Two Groups Complete Inspections of 1,700 Bangladesh Garment Factories

Author: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times (USA)

Two big groups of retailers and apparel brands have completed a major step toward advancing garment-factory safety in Bangladesh: They have finished inspecting nearly 1,700 factories in that country...The groups are working with Bangladeshi factory owners to promote safety and finance improvements, like fireproof doors or fire-sprinkler systems, that are required for garment factories 75 feet or taller in Bangladesh...The Alliance estimated that it would cost $250,000 on average for safety improvements at each factory. Alan Roberts, the Accord’s executive director for international operations, said the cost for some factories would be $1 million...The International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank, will make low-interest loans available to Bangladeshi factory owners for safety improvements, so long as overseas customers of those factories guarantee the loans...The Bangladeshi government has a separate National Action Plan to inspect an additional 1,500 often smaller factories not used directly by Accord or Alliance members, but thus far only 400 of them have been inspected.

 

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Article
13 October 2014

Bangladesh: 1106 garment factories inspected, 80000 safety issues identified, 400 corrective action plans finalized

Author: Accord on Fire & building Safety in Bangladesh

…[I]nitial inspections of Accord producing factories have been completed within the agreed timeline of end September 2014.  Out of 1106 factories inspected, over 400 Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) have been finalised by the factories and company signatories, as well as being approved by the Accord Chief Safety Inspector (CSI). More than 80,000 safety issues were identified that need to be resolved. Many of the corrective actions such as reducing weight loads and adhering to load management plans are already being implemented and monitored. The Accord inspections have also identified more substantial safety requirements such as installing fire doors and automated fire alarm systems, establishing fire protected exits from factory buildings, and strengthening of columns in the buildings.

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