Leading international trade unions and fashion brands announced a second Bangladesh Accord mainly focusing on the fire and building safety (Bangladesh Accord 2018). This new arrangement takes effect soon after the expiration of the current Accord.
Bangladesh is the world’s second-largest garment exporter, and its share of the global market is growing rapidly. Last fiscal year, the sector exported US$28.1 Billion in garments and the sector accounted for 82 per cent of the country’s total exports. Since the Rana Plaza disaster, the industry grew by more than US$6 Billion. The current Accord model is the only credible mechanism for brands to verify that their products are made under safe conditions.
The first Accord was enacted following the horrific tragedy at Rana Plaza. The motive behind the agreement was to get multinational companies and global union leaders together in a legally binding framework. This collaboration can certainly save lives, change the industry and provide a role model for other initiatives to address labor rights throughout the supply chains.
The 2018 Accord maintains some key components of the first Accord:
Brands and retailers are legally obligated to impose their suppliers to remedy unsafe working conditions. Signatory brands are also required to ensure sufficient funds are available for factories to pay for remediation.
Qualified safety engineers can inspect production facilities with participation from workers and trade unions anytime they wish.
Suppliers that refuses to carry out mandatory renovations and operate safely can be terminated, meaning they can no longer do business with any Accord signatory brand.
All factories, inspection reports, required corrective actions and factory-specific progress updates are published on the Accord’s website time to time.
Workers must be empowered through an extensive training program, effective complaint procedures has to be in place and workers must have right to refuse unsafe work.
The Bangladesh Accord 2018 includes new elements, adding on the first Accord:
The agreement recognizes the importance of Freedom of Association in ensuring workers have a genuine say in protecting their own health & safety and will establish a training and complaints protocol to ensure that this right is respected.
It also includes enhanced protection for workers whose factories are closed or relocated due to safety issues, with a requirement for severance payments if workers lose their jobs.
Possibility to further expand the scope of this agreement to cover categories of factories not originally covered, such as factories making products such as footwear and home textiles.
Additionally, the 2018 Accord incorporates lessons learned over the past four years to ensure effective implementation, such as a clarified dispute resolution process.
The 2018 Accord anticipates an eventual transfer of its functions to an appropriate national regulatory body, once they commit to contributing to its development through capacity building and sharing experience and expertise. The detail agreement can be read here: Bangladesh Accord 2018