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22 Dec 2020

Clean Clothes Campaign

Bangladesh: Clean Clothes Campaign accuses BGMEA of making 'false claims and unsubstantiated commitments' about RSC's ability to protect garment workers

“BGMEA Issues Statement with False Claims and Unsubstantiated Commitments to Building Safety in Bangladesh”, 22 December 2020

… [T]he Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), a member of the RSC’s governing board, issued a response to the brief. The response contains false claims and unsubstantiated commitments about the RSC, which was set up to carry forward the work of the Accord in Bangladesh and, at the same time, to support the fulfillment of the signatory obligations under the Accord agreement.

… [T]he RSC is governed by a board … of 12 representatives of financially-vested companies … with representatives of workers (global and local unions) making up only a third of its members. Furthermore, the RSC’s board has refused to include a key group of critical stakeholders, labor-rights NGOs…

… [U]nlike the Accord, the RSC’s website, six months after the organization’s inception, provides none of the following information: factory-specific remediation data, aggregate reports, nor minutes of its Board meetings.

Third, the BGMEA claims that the RSC commits to a boiler safety inspection program which was first initiated as a pilot in 2018 … However, even after six months since the RSC began its operations, there is no indication that a boiler safety inspection program has started…

Fourth, the BGMEA statement makes multiple references to the Transition Agreement signed between the Accord and the BGMEA and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association. However, one of the most important commitments made in that Transition Agreement, the recruitment of an independent Chief Safety Officer (CSO), remains unfulfilled…

Finally, the Witness Signatories are alarmed by the BGMEA’s reference to carry out a so-called ‘deep dive’ pilot program to improve the progress rates of factories… it is critical that these efforts be carried out and approved in accordance with the Accord’s rigorous standards. Failing to do so or rushing the process of remediation places the safety of millions of workers at risk.