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23 Apr 2019

Clean Clothes Campaign

Amidst Wave of Deadly Fires, Bangladesh Government Threatens to Expel the Only Credible Building Safety Programme in the Country and Further Suppress Workers’ Rights

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On the sixth anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse, labour rights groups are calling on the government of Bangladesh to cease attempts to expel the Accord on Fire and Building Safety from Bangladesh and to urgently increase safety efforts for the buildings currently under the government’s oversight, which include tens of thousands of factories across all industries. Over the past two months, at least 95 people have died in preventable fires in buildings that were within the monitoring purview of the government of Bangladesh. The safety crisis is indisputable. An investigation by the Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence showed 97% of the 3,786 buildings surveyed in Dhaka to be “risky” or “extremely risky.” The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is an enforceable agreement signed by apparel brands and trade unions three weeks after the Rana Plaza building collapse ...The Accord provides independent safety inspections, transparent remediation protocols, as well a worker complaint mechanism and training. As a result, unprecedented safety improvements have been made to factories across the country. Yet, the government and the factory owners’ association are trying to expel the Accord from the country, threatening the safety of millions of workers. A hearing on 19 May in the Appellate Court under Bangladesh’s Supreme Court could require the Accord to close its Dhaka office and operations without taking into account whether national agencies would be ready to take up the work...