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DHAKA – The Government of Bangladesh has given its backing for the Bangladesh Accord to work in the country beyond May 2018 following a meeting this week involving government officials, the Bangladesh Accord, ILO, trade unions and Accord brands and retailers. The parties are said to have agreed that the criteria to hand over the Accord’s work to a national regulatory body have not yet been met.

A statement by the Bangladesh Accord said these criteria include: demonstrated proficiency in inspection capacity, remediation of hazards, enforcement of the law against non-compliant factories, full transparency of governance and remediation progress, and investigation and fair resolution of workers’ safety complaints.

All parties have now agreed that the 2018 Transition Accord will begin on 1 June and continue until these criteria are met. More than 150 brands and retailers have now signed the 2018 Accord.

Added a statement by the Bangladesh Accord: “The Accord recognises the extraordinary progress that has been made over the last five years to improve fire and building safety in the Bangladeshi RMG industry. The overall progress rate of remediation at the 1620 Accord-covered factories is 85 per cent. The Accord has engaged with 2.4 million worker participants to share vital safety information in more than 1,000 factories.

“At the same time, we recognise that the remediation work has not been completed. Important steps still need to be taken to achieve full remediation and acceptable workplace safety. Life-threatening safety hazards such as inadequate fire exits, fire alarms and fire protection systems are still present in hundreds of factories, and the remediation rate remains at 85 per cent.

“Fire and building safety involves not just the renovations to make factories safe, but also ongoing vigilance to keep them safe. Rigorous and ongoing factory inspections are essential to maintaining that vigilance. As of today, there is not yet a fully resourced national regulatory body in place to take over this work. Therefore, the Accord signatories took the decision to sign the 2018 Transition Accord to ensure this vital safety work continues.”

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