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DHAKA – Global unions have welcomed moves in Bangladesh to establish a successor organisation to the Bangladesh Accord. Members of the steering committee of the Accord and the Bangladesh garment employers’ association (BGMEA) met in Dhaka to discuss the establishment of the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC). The RSC is a national initiative, made up of industry, brands and trade unions to carry forward efforts on workplace safety in Bangladesh since the creation of the Accord. It will also cover industrial relations, skill development and environmental standards. The BGMEA confirmed in the meeting that the new body will have neutral leadership as opposed by been led by representatives from the BGMEA.

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“The RSC will ensure that the progress made on factory safety in Bangladesh will continue, and it will play an important part for well-functioning industrial relations,“ said Christina Hajagos-Clausen, IndustriALL textile director and member of the Accord Steering Committee.

In the meeting on 2 and 3 September, all parties involved discussed a wide range of issues to ensure a smooth transition of the Accord and its functions (related to inspections, remediation, training and safety complaints mechanism) to the RSC by end of May 2020.

The parties agreed on the importance of jointly developing the memorandum and articles of the RSC, as well as a transition agreement. The drafts will be prepared following an agreed timetable.

“It is important that unions, employers and brands together continue the work of improving worker safety and a smooth transition of the Accord principles into the RSC,” said ZM Kamrul Anam, general secretary of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council.

The Accord Steering Committee is made up of equal representation of the signatory companies and trade unions with a neutral chair provided by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

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