BRUSSELS – The European Parliament has passed a resolution calling on the Bangladesh Government to allow the work of the Transition Accord to continue beyond November 2018. The resolution also calls for a marked improvement in worker rights for garment workers – notably in the area of collective bargaining – in order for Bangladesh to continue to be eligible for trade sweeteners.
It says: “… the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was signed between global apparel brands, retailers and trade unions … to date, less than half of the factories covered by the accord have completed adequate safety measures. The accord expired in October 2018, despite significant work remaining to be done; the accord was succeeded by a Transition Accord to apply for three years.”
The resolution calls for the Transition Accord to be “supported and all parties allowed to continue their work smoothly, including beyond November 2018.” It claims it should leave, “only once the Government of Bangladesh and its Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) have demonstrated both in word and in deed that they have met the readiness conditions and that these types of Responsible Business Conduct initiatives might no longer be needed.”
At present, the resolution claims the “RCC does not yet have the capacity to monitor and enforce health and safety requirements, with the serious implications for the safety and rights of factory workers that this entails.”
In addition, the resolution calls on the Government of Bangladesh to “adopt legislative changes to the Bangladesh Labour Act and its implementing rules to bring them into line with the ILO’s international labour standards, and to allow full freedom of association ….” calls on the Government of Bangladesh to take the necessary steps to effectively address all acts of anti-union discrimination, including acts of violence and intimidation.”
Responding to the EU resolution, the Clean Clothes Campaign issued a press note saying: “The Accord’s safety inspection program is the only credible program in Bangladesh, without such there will be no way to ensure that garment factories remain safe. Last June, during the meeting of the EU-US Bangladesh Sustainability Compact, it was also confirmed that the Accord should remain until such time as the Bangladesh government is ready to take over, which it currently isn’t.
“While the Government of Bangladesh continues on this reckless path of expelling the only organization currently equipped to prevent mass fatality factory disasters, such as the Rana Plaza collapse, Clean Clothes Campaign calls on all brands and retailers to make their orders conditional on the Accord being able to stay.”