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Rana Plaza - Factory collapse in Bangladesh
The building security agreement for Bangladesh
Years before the Rana Plaza factory building collapsed, local trade unions and international NGOs, including the Clean Clothes Campaign, called for an action plan to improve work safety in Bangladesh. However, it was only after the Tazreen factory fire and the collapse of Rana Plaza that enough public pressure was built up to induce some branded companies to rethink their approach. In May 2013, the long overdue “Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh” came about, a program for more building and fire protection safety in the Bangladeshi textile industry. The accord was originally negotiated for five years.
The extension negotiated until May 31, 2021 forms the basis for the building security work to be continued. However, it will be crucial for success that as many companies as possible that have production in Bangladesh also join the extended agreement.
New authority takes over Accord
The plan from the beginning was that state institutions would do the job of the accord should take over as soon as they have created the necessary structures. This happened prematurely in June 2019 - due to pressure from the employers' association of textile factory owners and lawsuits from individual textile factories. The work of the Accord office has been taken over by the new government agency called the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC). The Accord remains in force until May 2021, but the tasks and functions of the Accord Office have been carried out by the RSC since June 1, 2020.
For a long time, however, it was unclear what the decision-making structure, funding or assertiveness of the new institution would look like. However, these are essential factors for whether the legally binding provisions on building security and fire protection in the textile factories set out in the Accord are actually implemented. Six months after the start of the work of the RSC, the Clean Clothes Campaign has investigated whether the RSC is actually able to continue the high safety standard of the Accord.
Our interim conclusion: The RSC must do significantly more to ensure safe textile factories in Bangladesh.
Because the RSC has not yet met the security standards of the Accord or the expectations in terms of decision-making structures, transparency and independence. In the interests of the textile workers in Bangladesh, it is extremely important that the new RSC institution works according to the same strict principles and criteria as the building security agreement.
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