The president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has said that only 200 out of 1,500 garment factories in the country have met safety requirements for workers set out by an international accord, Reuters reports.
According to the news organisation, Rubana Huq accused members of the accord on Sunday of unilaterally imposing new requirements which were damaging the sector. She said she had met with their inspectors on Saturday to urge them to consult with manufacturers on their decisions.
The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety is a legally-binding pact signed by 200 fashion companies following the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013 which resulted in the deaths of over 1,100 garment factory workers.
“We had an agreement with Accord in May this year that it will not take any decision unilaterally but that has not been honoured,” Rubana Huq said, according to Reuters. “Since the formation of Accord, we implemented a lot of remediation as per its requirements that involved huge investment. Now, in the name of final checks, the Accord is asking for several remediations.”
Huq said that only 200 of the 1,600 factories inspected between 2014 and 2019 had been awarded completion certificates for meeting safety requirements. Huq also said that at least 400 factories were no longer allowed to accept orders from the Western brands that are members of the accord as a result of them not not complying to the new safety rules quickly enough.
Originally planned to expire in May 2018, the five-year pact has since been given an extension.
Photo courtesy of Bangladesh accord