On 14 January 2020, representatives of the BGMEA and the Steering Committee of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (Accord), met in Dhaka to finalise the establishment of the “RMG Sustainability Council (RSC)” by signing a Transition Agreement and agreeing Articles of Association for the RSC.
The RSC is an unprecedented national supply chain initiative, uniting industry, brands and trade unions to ensure a sustainable solution to carry forward the significant accomplishments made on workplace safety in Bangladesh. The RSC will be governed by a Board of Directors consisting of an equal number of representatives from industry, brands and trade unions.
“This is a key step in making sure the advances of the Accord continue,” said Alke Boessiger, Deputy General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “We will continue working with global brands to strengthen their participation and commitment to workplace safety in their supply chains as we negotiate a new, legally binding agreement that supersedes the 2018 Accord.”
The RSC will operate within the regulatory framework of the laws of Bangladesh, closely co-operating with and supporting the regulatory functions of the Government of Bangladesh. It will retain all health and safety inspections and remediation, safety training and complaints handling functions currently carried out by the Accord.
The Transition Agreement includes a number of important elements:
- Documented decisions, policies and protocols developed by the Accord will be carried over to the RSC as these have proven to effective and expedient.
- All existing transparency features of the Accord will be maintained, including full public disclosure of inspection results and remediation activities.
- Factories currently covered by the Accord shall be carried over to the RSC retaining their remediation status and any outstanding remediation requirements as per the factory’s Corrective Action Plan.
- All operations, staff, infrastructure, and functions of the Accord Office in Dhaka will be transferred to the RSC.
- The RSC will appoint a Chief Safety Officer, retaining the same independence, autonomy, authorities, and reporting requirements practiced by the Accord.
- The Safety and Health complaints mechanism established under the Accord will continue to operate independently and autonomously.
The BGMEA and the Accord brands and trade unions look forward to working together in the RSC towards the joint goal of protecting RMG workers in safe factories.
A copy of the Transition Agreement can be found here.