The government has decided to start conferring compliance certificates on readymade garments factories which have completed their remediation process under the national initiative — Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC).
Government officials said some 100 apparel factories, which were previously under the inspection of The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety (Accord) and The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance), were handed over to the RCC after completion of 80 percent to 97 percent of their remediation work. Accord is a platform for factory inspection and remediation of 220 European retailers and brands, while Alliance is a consortium of North American fashion brands and buyers.
Besides, another 300 factories, which were terminated through Accord and Alliance scrutiny, were also brought under the inspection of RCC.
Labour and Employment Secretary KM Ali Azam said, “The Ministry of Labour and Employment wants to start conferring certificates on a few factories that have completed hundreds percent of their remediation work.”
He made the statement during his visit to two factories -- Debonair Limited and Fashion.com Ltd -- at Ashulia in Savar on Saturday. These two factories have made remarkable progress in remediation work.
Expressing his satisfaction over their progress, the labour secretary hoped these two factories will be issued remediation completion certificate by the next week.
The labour and employment secretary said he has given directives to officials of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) to follow the government code of conduct during inspection and remediation work strictly.
KM Ali Azam also instructed DIFE officials not to delay distributing the remediation completion certificates to the factories that have completed hundred percent remediation work.
The labour and employment secretary also informed journalists that 697 out of 1,549 factories under RCC are currently operating their factories. These factories have completed about 38 percent of their overall remediation work.
While explaining the reasons for the slow progress in remediation, DIFE Inspector General Shivnath Roy said, “The factories being inspected under the national initiative are relatively weak in terms of their financial capabilities.”
Meantime, Labour Secretary KM Ali Azam said the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) along with Accord and Alliance has recently taken an initiative to form a platform named ‘RMG Sustainability Council (RSC)’ to inspect electrical, structural and fire safety, as well as ensure labour rights, in apparel factories.
He said the labor and employment ministry would review the initiative and decide on this.
RCC was constituted through the initiative of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE).
Alliance folded up its activities in December last. But its 21 fashion brand members and retailers have created a new organisation titled ‘Nirapon’ since then.
However, Accord signed an MoU with BGMEA on May 8 this year and got an additional 281 days to conduct its activities in Bangladesh.
As per the MoU, it will hand over its responsibilities to RSC before the end of 281 days. After the collapse of Rana Plaza building on 24 April 2013, which killed over 1,100 people, Accord and Alliance were formed for five years to improve the work environment of garments factories.
They inspected over 2,000 factories and detected various flaws. Accord was supposed to end its activities in May last year. According to BGMEA, the Accord has provided compliance certificate only to 200 factories.
Accord imposed newer conditions to provide compliance and safety certificate on the companies, though the companies finished 80-97 percent of the remediation work.