#ProtectProgress campaign for a global legally binding safety agreement

200 international brands and retailers are signatories to the Accord agreement, including H&M, Inditex (parent company of Zara), C&A and Primark, after the Rana Plaza factory collapsed, killing at least 1,134 garment workers in April 2013. The initial five-year Accord signed in 2013 was renewed in 2018 for another three years.

Accord protect progress 3 months extensionUPDATE 1 June 2021

Following intense campaigning and advocacy by civil society, trade unions, investors, and academics, the Bangladesh Accord agreement has been extended by three months, to allow the Accord union and brand signatories to conclude negotiations on a successor legally binding agreement on health & safety.

The extension, however, is no more than a respite that maintains the status quo.

Our ASK remains the same: we call on the Accord’s signatory brands to agree to a new binding safety agreement that ensures the safety work in Bangladesh remains individually enforceable upon brands, keeps an independent Secretariat in place that oversees the brands’ compliance, and allows for expansion to other countries.

We must keep the pressure on the apparel brands to #ProtectProgress and sign a new global legally binding safety agreement with the unions!

Take action on ranaplazaneveragain.org/#act


Established within a few weeks of the Rana Plaza disaster, the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety has been much more successful than earlier attempts to improve the safety of factories in Bangladesh. This is because 1) it has equal representation of workers’ representatives and apparel brands within its organisation and 2) it is legally binding for all brands that sign on.

This legally binding safety agreement between apparel brands and global trade unions expired on 31 May 2021. Ahead of the Accord expiration, UNI & IndustriALL Global Union signatories to the Accord, and a negotiating committee representing signatory companies reached an interim agreement to extend the current commitments of the Accord for three months. This extension allows negotiations on a successor agreement to continue.

If, after this three-month extension, the brands refuse to sign a legally-binding successor agreement, the safety of over two million workers in 1,600 garment factories currently covered by the Accord, will be left in the hands of a voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility initiative without enforcement upon brands or union participation. Voluntary initiatives have in the past been unable to prevent mass casualties, and it is therefore completely irresponsible to fall back on trusting a non-enforceable initiative to prevent a new Tazreen fire or Rana Plaza collapse.

NOW is the time for the brands to sign a global health & safety agreement which contains the possibility to expand the Accord model to other countries where garment workers are facing unsafe working conditions, similar to those in the pre-Rana Plaza situation in Bangladesh.

The Q&A bellow explains why there is an urgent need for a global legally binding health & safety agreement. - Bangladesh Accord signatories.


Bangladesh Accord Q&A

1. What is the problem and what are we asking for?


THE PROBLEM

The Bangladesh Accord agreement, signed by 200 apparel brands & retailers with UNI and IndustriALL global unions & their Bangladeshi affiliates expired on 31st May 2021. Global unions and negotiating signatory companies have announced that they agreed upon a three-month extension of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh to allow for more time to conclude negotiations on a new binding safety agreement (See FAQ question 2).

The extension, however, only postpones the problem: the Accord will expire soon, meaning that brands can no longer be held legally accountable on their promises in the field of worker safety. We therefore call on the Accord’s signatory brands to sign a new binding safety agreement that ensures the safety work in Bangladesh remains individually enforceable upon brands, keeps an independent Secretariat in place that oversees the brands’ compliance, and allows for expansion to other countries. Without such an agreement, brands’ efforts in Bangladesh will amount to no more than the kind of self-monitoring practices that failed to prevent the Rana Plaza building collapse.

The Accord is the only credible workplace safety initiative in the global garment industry, which since 2013 has demonstrably made >1,600 garment factories safer workplaces for two million workers in Bangladesh. This progress can’t be put at risk by allowing brands to walk away from the legal enforcement and independent oversight that has made this possible.

At the same time, unsafe working conditions continue to be the norm in other garment exporting countries. For example, textile and garment factories in Pakistan remain just as unsafe as they were in 2012, when a fire at Ali Enterprises factory (Karachi) killed over 250 workers. The need for expanding the Accord model to Pakistan has once again been highlighted by a major fire in a garment factory in Pakistan on 29 May 2021. This factory supplies several Dutch Accord signatories.


OUR ASK

Our campaign goal is that brands sign a new international legally binding agreement on health and safety. This will i) ensure that the brands’ commitments under the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh will continue to be enforceable by unions upon brands, and ii) will allow for new country addendum that will enable the Accord model to be expanded to other garment exporting countries, keeping workers across the garment industry safe.


LEGALLY-BINDING AGREEMENT

The Accord’s legally binding nature is key to its effectiveness. The Accord model prescribes two levels of enforcement: i) at the factory level, through an escalation process, where non-compliance of the supplier to remediate safety issues may lead to termination of business with all Accord company signatories; and ii) at the brand level, through a dispute resolution clause, allowing the union signatories to file arbitration charges against the signatory brands failing to implement their obligations under the Accord agreement.

The legally-binding nature of the Accord means that all Accord signatory companies are required to comply with the Accord’s provisions, including requiring their suppliers to participate in the inspection and remediation programme and ensuring that remediation at their suppliers is financially feasible.


2. What does the three-month extension of the Accord entail?


IndustriALL, UNI Global, and negotiating signatory companies announced ahead of the Bangladesh Accord expiration on 31 May 2021, that they agreed upon a three-month extension of the Accord commitments. The aim of this extension is to allow for more time to conclude negotiations on a new binding safety agreement.

The extension, however, is no more than a respite that maintains the status quo. The Accord will expire soon and if the brands refuse to sign a legally-binding successor agreement, the safety of over two million workers in 1,600 garment factories currently covered by the Accord, will be left in the hands of a voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility initiative without enforcement upon brands or union participation (See FAQ question 5).



3. Why is the Accord model so successful and which of these elements will be at risk without a binding agreement?


The Accord has been successful because its model comprises a unique combination of elements: its legally-binding nature, bi-partite governance, the brands’ collective leverage, high levels of transparency and disclosure, brands’ obligations to financially support the remediation, and an independent complaints mechanism.


ACCORD MODEL: KEY ASPECTS
  • Legally-binding agreement between brands & trade unions
  • Independent safety inspections & remediation programme
  • Brand commitment to ensure safety remediation is completed & financially feasible
  • Disclosure of inspection reports & corrective action plans \
  • Safety Committee and Safety Training Programme
  • Safety and Health Complaints Mechanism
  • Protection of right to refuse unsafe work
  • Escalation of non-compliant factories; risk of business termination with all Accord brands
  • Ongoing promotion of right to Freedom of Association to advance safety
  • Independent Secretariat monitoring & supporting signatory brands in their implementation of Accord obligations

INDEPENDENT CHIEF SAFETY INSPECTOR

The Accord agreement establishes the independent position of a Chief Safety Inspector (CSI), who leads the implementation of the inspections and remediation monitoring functions. The independence of the CSI position has been crucial for the success of the Accord program in Bangladesh; particularly because the CSI’s decisions regarding the level of compliance with the required safety remediation may lead to termination of the supplier’s business relations with all the Accord brands.

The Accord agreement prescribes that when covered factories fail to remediate the identified safety issues in due time, they are subject to a notice and warning procedure, which can lead to termination of business with all Accord brands, if non-compliance persists.


POSITIVE INCENTIVE TO COMPLETE THE REMEDIATION

Under the Accord, signatory brands have an obligation to ensure that the remediation of the safety issues identified at their factories is made financially feasible. This is a groundbreaking aspect of the Accord model, as it contributes to achieving more sustainable sourcing practices, with the costs of maintaining a safe workplace being accounted for in the business relation between brands and factories.


SAFETY TRAINING & COMPLAINTS MECHANISM

Through the Accord agreement, signatories seek to empower workers and local trade unions by informing them about their rights to a safe and healthy workplace. The Accord prescribes a Safety Training programme for workers and joint worker-management Safety Committees at covered factories; and provides workers and their trade unions with an independent OSH complaints mechanism, which allows them to raise workplace safety issues that the factory management are then required to remediate.

Furthermore, the Accord’s OSH complaints mechanism, in contrast with many voluntary MSI’s complaints mechanisms, is widely trusted by workers and has demonstrably prevented accidents and ensured the reinstatement of workers who were dismissed for raising the lack of safety in their workplace. In alignment with the UNGP criteria for non-judicial grievance mechanisms, the Accord signatories’ complaints mechanism is independent, impartial, and the complaint resolutions are binding on both the covered factories and the Accord brands sourcing from them.


OVERARCHING ELEMENTS: EQUAL WORKERS-BRANDS REPRESENTATION & LEGALLY-BINDING NATURE

The Accord owes its success particularly to the fact that it has equal representation on its Steering Committee of workers’ representatives and apparel brands, and it is legally binding for all brands that sign on. An independent Secretariat monitors and supports signatory brands in their implementation of Accord obligations, which is critical to ensuring the Accord truly protects the workers’ rights to a safe workplace.

The legally-binding nature of the Accord means that all Accord signatory companies are required to comply with the Accord’s provisions; and that the Accord labour signatories can start a procedure against non-compliant companies. If the brands’ actions remain unsatisfactory, then the unions can initiate a process for binding arbitration.

In 2016, IndustriALL and UNI Global Unions brought arbitration cases against two Accord signatory companies for failure to ensure that remediation at their suppliers is financially feasible. These resulted in settlements of over US$2 million paid towards safety remediation.

Without the legally binding element of the Accord, there will be no consequences for brand non-compliance. This is why voluntary initiatives have in the past been unable to prevent mass casualties, and it is therefore completely irresponsible to fall back on trusting a non-enforceable initiative to prevent a new Tazreen fire or Rana Plaza collapse.

The Accord is the only initiative in the global garment industry through which brands and worker representatives can work together at a large scale and on an equal footing to make tangible progress towards a safer industry.



4. Why must brands sign a new international legally binding agreement on health and safety?


BANGLADESH

Brands must sign a new Accord agreement to ensure that their suppliers in Bangladesh complete the safety remediation and that safety continues to be monitored and the workers in these factories continue being provided with an independent health and safety complaints mechanism, which protects them from retaliation by factory management.

The safety remediation at the factories covered by the Bangladesh Accord is not yet completed. More than 1,200 factories are yet to install a fire alarm system compliant to the international safety standards; over 900 factories do not yet have compliant safe egress measures; and over 300 factories are yet to complete the structural remediation. Workers at these factories remain exposed in case of fire or another workplace accident.

The report "Unfinished Business: Outstanding safety hazards at garment factories show that the Accord must be extended and expanded", published in April 2021, showed that factories producing for 12 leading brands covered by the Accord, still had major unverified safety hazards outstanding – many of which the most costly ones to remediate. The report showed that weakening the legal accountability of the Accord agreement now would risk the lives of innumerable workers as many important safety fixes have yet to be completed or verified. Brands and retailers must ensure that the factories they are sourcing from have the financial means to complete these renovations. 

C&A, with an overall verified remediation rate across all factories of 89% for example still has 107 factories without verified alarm systems. At a remediation rate of 91%, H&M still has 163 factories without verified fire suppression systems. It must be clear for member brands of the Accord that there can be no weakening of the agreement when so much still has to be done.

But even if all safety violations were remediated, a meaningful safety monitoring and remediation system would remain vital. Safety is a continuous process, and not only does continuous monitoring reveal new safety defects to remediate, also is it an important measure against the return of dangerous practices, such as storing finished product in the way of safe egress.


OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE BRANDS’ GARMENT SUPPLY CHAIN

At the same time, the Accord model of independent inspections, collective brand leverage, public disclosure, accountability and bi-partite governance should be expanded to other garment exporting countries.

The Accord Steering Committee expressed in January 2020, and reiterated in March 2020, its intention to negotiate a global Accord agreement with a vision to expand the Accord to other countries, in particular Pakistan.

We have long advocated for an expansion of the Accord model to Pakistan, where on 11th September 2012, a fire at Ali Enterprises factory (Karachi) killed over 250 workers. Almost nine years later, textile and garment factories in Pakistan remain just as unsafe as they were back then.

Furthermore, recent workplace tragedies in North Africa, including 28 workers killed by electrocution in an illegal garment factory in Morocco in February 2021, 20 workers killed in a fire at a garment factory in Egypt in March 2021, and 8 people killed in a collapse later that month in the same country, and a range of fires in other countries show the urgent need for brands to commit to a global legally binding safety agreement that will eventually allow for the use of this successful model to address workplace safety across all countries in their garment supply chain.



5. What is the link between the Accord and the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) and why is the brands’ argument that they want to rely on the RSC rather than on the Accord based on misconceptions?


Soon after the Accord agreement entered into effect in 2013, the Accord established a Secretariat based in the Netherlands and an office in Bangladesh. This latter office employed over 200 staff and performed the on-the-ground functions prescribed by the Accord agreement, including factory inspections and monitoring the safety remediation, conducting safety training at the covered factories, and providing workers with an independent complaints mechanism through which they could raise safety and health issues at their factories.

A protracted court proceeding against the in-country office by a disgruntled factory owner, and used politically by the factory owners' association and the government, eventually led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2019 between the Accord Steering Committee and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).


TRANSITION OF BANGLADESH-BASED ACCORD FUNCTIONS TO THE RSC

This MoU prescribed that all operations, staff, infrastructure, and functions of the Accord Office in Bangladesh would be transferred to a newly established organization – the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) – on 1st June 2020. The RSC is jointly governed by brands, trade unions, and manufacturers.

The Accord brands’ obligations with respect to inspections, remediation and workplace programmes at their supplier factories continued to be safeguarded in the international agreement running until 31st May 2021, but the practical implementation has since 1st June 2020 been covered through the RSC.

The RSC was established to take over the Accord operations on the ground, but it was never intended to replace the Accord model or to substitute for the signatories’ obligations under the Accord.

An example substantiating this is that the RSC does not prescribe a brand requirement to ensure the remediation is financially feasible. This is an Accord obligation, the implementation of which is monitored and supported by the Accord Secretariat.


CONCERNS ABOUT THE RSC MODEL & INDEPENDENCE

Unlike the Accord, in whose governance worker representatives have an equal role with that of industry, the RSC is governed by a board of directors that is made up predominantly of representatives of brands and factory owners, with representatives of unions making up only a third of its members.

Moreover, reports by the Accord Secretariat, who continue to monitor, verify and report on the implementation of the Accord brands’ obligations through the RSC, testify to attempts by the factory manufacturers association (BGMEA) to interfere in the operations of the RSC.

It is crucial that the Accord framework is in place, to ensure that the RSC upholds the independence and transparency required for it to become a credible safety initiative, which is trusted by workers.


ACCORD FRAMEWORK CRUCIAL FOR RSC EFFECTIVENESS

The undue interference by BGMEA in the RSC operations can only be resisted if the brands and unions continue acting jointly - bounded by an Accord agreement - on the RSC Board. Otherwise, the safety progress achieved under the Accord since 2013 will soon be dissolved and workplace safety will revert to the level it was in the pre-Rana Plaza situation.

The Accord agreement and the international independent Secretariat it establishes are crucial to ensuring that the brands uphold their commitments to safety.

The Accord Secretariat’s mandate - which should be maintained under a new legally-binding safety agreement – is to monitor the implementation of the signatories’ obligations in Bangladesh. This is different from the Secretariat seeking to control the work of the RSC, as some of the brands and the BGMEA have argued.

Without the equal monitoring of all brand signatories’ obligations, the level playing field among brands would be lost, as well as the leverage to counter manufacturers’ attempts to delay implementation of any inspections, remediation, orworkplace programmes elements that are unfavourable to their short-term interests.

UNI Global and IndustriALL and their Bangladeshi union affiliates announced that without a legally-binding agreement that creates brand liability for the quality and independence of the work delivered by the RSC, they will withdraw from the RSC.

This means that the RSC will become a voluntary initiative led by apparel brands and garment factory owners, with no accountability and enforcement mechanisms to hold brands accountable for their commitments or worker representation.

In the absence of a strong accountability mechanism linking the status of workplace safety in garment factories to the apparel brands that source from them, the RSC, like all voluntary CSR/Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives before it, will fail to achieve and maintain safe garment factories.

6. What is it that the negotiating brands want, and why is it not good enough?


Many Accord company signatories have told CCC and our national members that with the Accord operations in-country having been transferred to the RSC, they no longer see the need to sign on to a new, global safety agreement with union representatives as the other party.

However, the RSC’s governance structure where industry dominates labour, the concerns about the independence of the RSC, and the fact that past experience has shown that binding agreements are needed to create real change are clear indicators that the RSC is not able to uphold the safety standards without a legally-binding agreement to back it up.


NO ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISM

The RSC has no accountability mechanism whereby workers’ representatives can hold brands accountable for non-compliance, which means that without a legally-binding Accord agreement in place, unions are unable to hold the brands legally accountable for the safety commitment they have made. Brands have no incentive to require their suppliers to maintain safe workplaces or to ensure that the remediation is made financially feasible.


Accord - doors might be locked


DENIAL OF WORKERS’ RIGHTS TO A SAFE WORKPLACE

If brands walk away from the binding Accord model, it means that the commitments they made in the past to achieve a safe and sustainable garment industry are hollow.

By refusing to sign on to a new international fire and building safety agreement, brands are denying workers in their supply chain the right to work in safe factories. Workers in Bangladesh will be affected, as well as workers in other garment producing countries, whose lives are everyday at risk working in factories without safe exits, functioning fire alarms or adequate fire separation.


LOSS OF KNOWLEDGE & INFRASTRUCTURE

If the brands do not agree to signing a new global legally binding agreement on health and safety, the Netherlands-based Accord Secretariat will be dissolved and together with it, the knowledge this group of experts has acquired since 2013 will be lost. If brands do not use the opportunity that they have NOW to negotiate a global Accord agreement which expands the Accord model to other countries across their supply chain, it will be extremely difficult to establish such an impressive programme in the future.

The Accord Secretariat has all the knowledge and resources needed to expand the Accord to other countries; however, these will no longer be available to the brands if the Accord does not continue. Especially as brands are facing mandatory due diligence obligations to be imposed in a range of countries in the next few years, this knowledge will be indispensable to ensure their supply chains live up to external demands.


7. Which brands endorse the Accord model and agree to signing a new global legally-binding health & safety agreement?


The brand negotiation committee does not represent the opinion of all brands. A growing group of Accord brands has indicated in public or in private communication to the labour signatories of the Accord that they support a new binding agreement that is legally enforceable upon individual brands, has independent oversight and contains the option to expand the model to other countries. Brands like ASOS, G-Star, Tchibo, Zeeman, and KIK acknowledge the progress the Accord has brought and the risks of stepping way from the model now.

Dutch brand G-Star writes: “To ensure a safe working environment and prevent from a disaster such as the one in Rana Plaza to ever occur again, we fully support the continuation of the binding agreement, ensuring that all parties can be held accountable by independent supervisors.”

German brand Tchibo writes: “[The Accord] represents our global commitment as a business community to the global garment industry. The upcoming decisions will be a testimony to whether we as businesses are willing to continue our inclusive path. Inclusiveness must include the legitimate representatives of workers and reflect their wishes in a balance of interests. It will also demonstrate whether we as businesses are willing to walk our talk and voluntarily curtail our power to collaborate under legally binding principles to benefit the people in our supply chains.”

UK brand ASOS writes: “the Agreement must come in the form of a negotiated and legally binding contract between the brand and GUFs, with enforcement possible between the GUF and each individual brand. This is the only way to create a genuine level playing field, and the only way to keep the unions as members of the RSC.”


8. If brands don’t agree to an enforceable agreement that covers the work in Bangladesh, what are the consequences?


If no new binding agreement is signed, the safety of over two million garment workers in 1,600 garment factories currently covered by the Accord, will be left in the hands of a voluntary, unenforceable initiative without union participation - the RSC. As unions have indicated that they will withdraw from the RSC if the brands do not sign a legally-binding agreement with accountability and enforcement mechanisms to hold brands accountable for their commitments, the fate of workers’ lives will be solely in the hands of brands and factory owners. Such voluntary, self-monitored initiatives in the past have been unable to protect workers against the Tazreen fire or the Rana Plaza collapse. This would mean that the working conditions in RMG factories will revert to the pre-Rana Plaza situation.


RMG fires
Source: TBSNews


9. If no binding agreement is concluded that allows for expansion of the model to other countries, what are the consequences?


The garment industry is notoriously unsafe, with incidents in Morocco and Egypt earlier this year, as noted above, as tragic examples. It is high time that brands take responsibility for the working conditions in their garment supply chains, which they have thrived on for decades, making outrageous profits.

The negotiation of a renewed binding agreement to cover Bangladeshi suppliers is an opportunity for brands and unions to sign a global safety agreement. This global agreement will establish the framework for Accord expansion to other garment exporting countries. Not signing such an agreement means denying workers in other countries access to the most effective programme to ensure workplace safety.

The Accord programme has achieved substantially more than any voluntary brand initiative has in the past. The legally-binding element of the Accord ensures that all brands signing the Accord are required to comply with the Accord provisions; this means that brands can effectively use their collective leverage to advance workplace safety.


10. If a legally-binding agreement with the option of expansion to other countries is signed, will other countries be covered immediately?


Brands signing an international legally-binding agreement on fire and building safety commit to expanding the Accord model - based on the principles established by the Bangladesh Accord - to other garment export countries in their supply chain.

The international agreement allows for the development and implementation of country-specific fire and building safety programs. These will be established through new country addendums, in addition to the Bangladesh addendum.

The Accord Steering Committee will decide the development of country-specific safety programmes, based on a formula to be agreed, that considers the number of signatories sourcing from a particular country who wish to start a new programme and/or the total volume of orders of all signatory companies sourcing from

that country. Important incentives for such expansion will be labour and civil society initiatives in support for the programme, such as present in Pakistan.

Once a new country-specific programme is established, all Accord signatory brands sourcing from that country will be required to participate in the programme.

Unions will be able to enforce a brand’s commitments under the

international Accord on Fire and Building Safety, in relation to all the safety programmes established in the countries that signatory brand sources from.


Pakistan Accord quote



11. What do investors, political leaders, experts in business and human rights, and academics say about the Accord model?


Many stakeholders have spoken in support of the Accord model, underscoring its binding nature and enforceability provisions as success factors for the unprecedented level of safety progress achieved in the garment industry.

A group of 180 global institutional investors representing over $3.7 trillion USD in assets urged apparel brands to sign a new legally-binding agreement that:

  • Includes enforceable obligations for brands that ensure worker health and safety is protected
  • Maintains the role of the Accord Secretariat as an independent mechanism of accountability
  • Is international in scope and can expand the Accord’s lifesaving inspection and remediation program to other countries where garment workers’ lives are at risk from fires and structural failures

The European Commission’s 2020 Study on the current implementation of due diligence in supply chains of European business enterprises, praised the Accord for meeting the requirements of due diligence for its binding nature, inclusiveness, and enforceability. The study concluded that the Accord “represents a novel example [of positive interventions in Bangladeshi RMG sector], insofar as it is binding, inclusive and enforceable” and that it is “an example of how multi-stakeholder collective agreements [...] can lead to binding due diligence obligations and effective remedies for victims”.

The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag affirmed her support for the Accord, noting that “The Netherlands considers the Accord to be a successful initiative for making the garment industry more sustainable and believes that the elements that have made the current Accord successful should be part of a new agreement. This means [the new agreement should

be] legally binding, with individual responsibility and liability of companies. Reaching a new agreement would continue the improvements that have been made over the past eight years. […] The lessons and experiences from Bangladesh are also valuable to other production countries; a new Accord could help disseminate those lessons and experiences.”

Commenting on the brands’ attempts to go back on earlier agreements to renew the legally binding Accord agreement, member of the European Parliament Agnes Jongerius said, “The brands' attitude is not smart, in light of the European legislation that will likely be introduced, in which western companies will be held accountable for humane labour conditions throughout their entire supply chains”. Fellow MEP Saskia Bricmont said: “We demand that H&M, C&A, Bestseller, Aldi, Lidl keep and reinforce their commitments to worker safety. Every day the legalislative proposal for due diligence becomes more urgent, voluntary action is not enough”.

50 legal practitioners, academics, and experts on business and human rights highlighted in a joint statement that “The Bangladesh Accord is an excellent example of how businesses

can help operationalise the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) through the use of remediation measures and by introducing a non-judicial grievance mechanism”. They called on the brands to renew the legally binding Accord agreement, an “historic instrument”, which “has proved to be an innovative and successful development in holding multinational garment retailers and brands accountable for the working conditions in garment suppliers working out of factories in Bangladesh”.

Find an overview of resources on the Accord here.



12. What has the Accord achieved?


  • 1,687 factories covered
  • >38,000 initial and follow-up inspections for fire, electrical and structural safety
  • Commitment by Accord brands and unions to integrate boiler safety12 in the RSC’s inspection and remediation programs
  • 190 factories made ineligible for business with Accord signatory brands for failure to implement the required safety measures


REMEDIATION

PROGRESS

  • 93% initial remediation progress
  • 359 factories completed the initial remediation
  • >90% initial remediation at 1,260 factories (901 factories excl. those that completed the initial remediation)

OUTSTANDING

  • 1,243 factories yet to have their Fire Alarm and Detection System verified as installed to standard
  • 1,055 factories yet to have their Fire Suppression System verified as fully functional and installed to standard
  • 917 factories yet to have all safe egress measures implemented and verified to standard
  • 375 factories yet to complete structural remediation based on an Engineering Assessment


SAFETY TRAINING
  • 954 Safety Committees completed the safety training
  • 380 Safety Committees at an earlier stage in the training program
  • Safety Committee training yet to commence at 253 Accord- covered factories
  • 2,538 All Employee Meetings
  • >1,8 million workers informed about workplace safety

Due to Covid-19, since March 2020:

AEMs suspended - Training sessions are being conducted remotely


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY & HEALTH COMPLAINTS MECHANISM

Key features:

  • Protection of right to refuse unsafe work
  • Protection of right to participate in the work of the Safety Committee
  • Protection against retaliation for reporting workplace safety / health related matters
  • Factory announcements to inform all workers about the complaint and its resolution
  • Uses collective leverage of the Accord brands
  • Escalation of non-compliant factory; risk of business termination with all Accord brands


Total OSH complaints (unique): 1,475

  • Engineering (structural/fire/electrical safety): 180
  • Working environment related (incl. Covid-19 related, unsafe drinking water supply, excessive heat, workplace violence, forced overtime, denial of maternity pay/leave rights, sexual harassment): 1,283
  • - Reprisal for having filed a complaint: 36

The total number of unique OSH complaints is lower than the total number of complaints categorized by nature of the allegations, as some complaints include more than one allegation.

COVID-19 related complaints: 270

All complaints related to the Covid-19 health crisis will be investigated. The outcome of the complaints will be published on the Accord’s website.


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