Fair Wear Joint Letter on Bangladesh ACCORD

[22 November, 2018] Fair Wear Foundation, together with other MSIs and business associations, wrote a joint letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh.

In the letter, the organisations urged the government of Bangladesh to show leadership to find solutions to the current challenges, to continue the ACCORD’s contributions to the development of the garment sector in Bangladesh, and to assist in the eventual role of the RCC in taking over the leadership of this work.

The organisations acknowledge the significant and substantive achievements that have been made on worker safety, such as the creation of an independent Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) within the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) to regulate safety in the RMG sector.

However, there is still more to be done to complete remediation at factories covered by the ACCORD. Less than half of all ACCORD-covered factories have completed the installation of adequate fire detection systems and less than 60% have completed structural retrofitting. Moreover, factories not covered by the ACCORD will place an extra additional burden on the work of the RCC that could jeopardise its success. The signatories of the letter believe that more work is needed in order to absorb the work of the ACCORD into the RCC. It is in the best interests of all parties, including the Government and RMG industry, that the RCC be provided with further opportunities and time to develop successfully.

The signatories respectfully note that there is a clear benefit for everyone. There is an advantage in Bangladesh, the global RMG industry, and with workers in local factories to continue and deepen this successful partnership that has delivered such fundamental and substantive positive change. Yet there is a fear that the safety of Bangladesh RMG workers could be compromised if an effective structure is not in place for an effective handover of responsibility.