The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (the Accord) was signed on May 15th 2013. It is a five year independent, legally binding agreement between global brands and retailers and trade unions designed to build a safe and healthy Bangladeshi Ready Made Garment (RMG) Industry. The agreement was created in the immediate aftermath of the Rana Plaza building collapse that led to the death of more than 1100 people and injured more than 2000. In June 2013, an implementation plan was agreed leading to the incorporation of the Bangladesh Accord Foundation in the Netherlands in October 2013. The agreement consists of six key components:

  1. A five year legally binding agreement between brands and trade unions to ensure a safe working environment in the Bangladeshi RMG industry
  2. An independent inspection program supported by brands in which workers and trade unions are involved
  3. Public disclosure of all factories, inspection reports and corrective action plans (CAP)
  4. A commitment by signatory brands to ensure sufficient funds are available for remediation and to maintain sourcing relationships
  5. Democratically elected health and safety committees in all factories to identify and act on health and safety risks
  6. Worker empowerment through an extensive training program, complaints mechanism and right to refuse unsafe work.

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Article
20 November 2017

Bangladesh: Accord will continue its work until functioning national safety regulatory body is in place, say NGOs

Author: Ben Vanpeperstraete, Judy Gearhart, Lynda Yanz and Scott Nova for The Daily Star

"Why the Accord will be here until 2021", 15 November 2017

In reaction to recent statements concerning the future of the Bangladesh Accord, the Witness Signatories to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh [...] wish to respond regarding the continuation of the Accord's inspection programme. Recent statements have led some to erroneously believe that the Accord is scheduled to end in 2018... The purpose of the renewed Accord, which takes effect in May of 2018 when the current 2013 Accord expires, is to ensure that factories made safe under the Accord remain safe. At the same time, the new Accord will support improvements to Bangladesh's public regulatory regime, in order to strengthen and pass on this responsibility to the Bangladesh government at the end of those three years... The Accord cannot exit Bangladesh until all parties agree that the government is ready to take over these responsibilities... To exit prematurely would be disastrous: it would expose workers to renewed risk of injury and death and it would gravely undermine buyer confidence in Bangladesh. [refers to H&M, Inditex (Zara), Primark, and PVH (Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein)]

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Article
10 November 2017

Bangladesh: Accord on Fire and Building Safety launches its fourth aggregate report

Author: Bangladesh Accord Secretariat

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh publishes Quarterly Aggregate Reports as part of its commitment to transparency and accountability.This report provides an overview of implementation of the Accord program and remediation progress at the ReadyMade Garment (RMG) factories covered by the Accord.

The overall remediation progress rate of safety issues identified in initial inspections reported or verified as fixed has reached 81 percent. Remediation is close to completion  at 603 Accord factories which have completed 90 percent or more of the remediation.  107 factories have completed all remediation from initial inspections, out of which 25 factories have remediated all the issues, including the new findings.

While marking this significant progress, major life-threatening safety concerns remain outstanding in too many factories and need to be fixed urgently. These include: inadequately protected fire exits, inadequate fire alarm and fire protection systems, and outstanding structural retrofitting work...

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Article
23 April 2016

Only 31 RMG factories fully remediated 3 years after Rana Plaza disaster

Author: Ibrahim Hossain Ovi, Tribune [Dhaka]

Three years after the Rana Plaza disaster, only 31 RMG factories have fully completed the remediation process of improving safety and compliance as per international standards. According to the latest information, a total of 3,768 RMG units have been inspected by the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, and National Initiative. The remaining inspected factories are at different stages of repair works and improvements in safety – encompassing fire, electrical and structural safety – and compliance. Some have made significant progress and others are at the final stage, awaiting approval from the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE). Of the 31 factories that completed remediation works, 24 manufacture products for Alliance signatory brands and 7 for Accords signatory brands.

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Article
21 April 2016

After Rana Plaza: creating a health and safety culture in Bangladesh

Author: Roz Sanderson, SHP

On the third anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, Rob Wayss, the Accord’s executive director, talks to James Irwin, head of health & safety recruitment at Acre about progress on one of the Accord’s core commitments: setting up democratically elected safety committees in factories.

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Article
21 April 2016

ANALYSIS - Three years after Rana Plaza disaster, has anything changed?

Author: Rina Chandran, Thompson Reuters Foundation

Three years after the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 factory workers, the rights and safety of workers are in greater focus, but progress in fixing problems in the supply chain is slow, experts and activists say...More than 40 defendants face charges over the disaster, but about 24 of the accused have absconded..The disaster led to the creation of two international coalitions designed to assess and help fund improvements to building and fire safety at thousands of garment factories in Bangladesh...But nearly three years on, about 70 percent of those plans are behind schedule, according to data on its website..."While compensation for victims became a priority after the disaster, the perennial problems of safety, health and prevention still need to be addressed," said Gopinath Parakuni, general-secretary of non-profit Cividep India...Every factory is still a tinder box, and effective ways to ensure day-to-day safety are still not in place," he said...As well as companies and governments, consumers are getting involved in the campaign for greater supply-chain transparency.

 

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Article
21 April 2016

Fast fashion is crucial to Bangladesh. So what’s changed since the Rana Plaza disaster?

Author: Debbie Coulter, Ethical Trading Initiative

So what’s happened since then? Has the situation improved? And what lessons have been learnt...

It’s safe to say that Rana Plaza and the less well publicised Tazreen fashion factory fire that left over 100 dead in 2012, acted as wake-up calls to the garment industry...They galvanised global companies and brands to address the systemic health, safety and labour issues that riddled the industry...But here are two main issues:

  • Addressing occupational health and safety.
  • Promoting worker rights including freedom of association.

Strong health and safety provision. Decent wages. Better terms and conditions of employment. Freedom of association. They all have to be delivered. That’s going to take more time and effort. And most importantly it’s going to take even more collaboration...Between local factory owners and their workforce, with global brands and companies, and in partnership with strong trade unions and committed local NGOs.

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Article
21 April 2016

Summary: Rana Plaza Three Years On: Compensation, Justice and Workers' Safety

Author: Clean Clothes Campaign

In total, the Rana Plaza Arrangement paid out BDT 1,421,273,046.31 (almost 13 million GPB/16 million EURO/USD 18.5 million), from the money collected by the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund...Of the 41 individuals facing criminal charges only two, Sohel Rana and an inspector from Rajuk (Civil Development Agency), are held in custody. Of the remaining 39 at least half have yet to surrender to the court; this includes the Spanish owner of the Phantom Tac factory. ..Overall, the pace of repairs has been much slower than anticipated...The lack of transparent rules and guidelines for the assessing of union applications leaves room for undue influence over the process by employers who have considerable local power.  

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Article
20 April 2016

3 years on from Rana Plaza, the Bangladesh Accord is saving lives, says IndustriAll

Author: IndustriAll

Rana Plaza served as a wake-up call to multiple stakeholders – global and local unions, NGOs and brands have worked together to create the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. UNI Global Union and IndustriALL are the two global union signatories to the Accord...The legally binding agreement, with over 200 brands, has brought quantifiable improvements in building and fire safety. The Accord has completed almost 3,700 factory inspections and re-inspections and has both identified and remedied thousands of safety issues...Real improvements on the ground are being made – more than 50,000 problems and 75 per cent of electrical issues have been reported as fixed.

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Article
20 April 2016

Bangladesh: Garment Workers’ Union Rights Bleak

Author: Human Rights Watch

Garment workers face daunting challenges to unionization, and remain at risk of interference and threats by factories three years after the Rana Plaza building collapse, Human Rights Watch said today. The Bangladesh government should urgently remove legal and practical obstacles to unionization...“Let’s remember that none of the factories operating in Rana Plaza had trade unions,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “If their workers had more of a voice, they might have been able to resist managers who ordered them to work in the doomed building a day after large cracks appeared in it.”

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Article
19 April 2016

Accord Progress Factsheet, Apr 2016

Author: The Accord on Fire & Building Safety in Bangladesh

56% of all identified safety issues reported or verified as corrected, 75% of all electrical safety issues reported or verified as corrected and 7 factories completed all remediation from initial inspections...50 factories participate in Accord Safety Committee pilot program...>125 Safety Committee training sessions held by Accord trainers 

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