New Accord on Bangladeshi RMG Sectors

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News Desk

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the ready-made garment sector accounts for 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s export earnings and employs about 4.2 million people. Yearly, Bangladesh exports about $30-35 b worth RMG. A flip side of this is that the working conditions in RMG sector in Bangladesh has been abysmal. In 2017, it was estimated that over 11,000 RMG workers suffered fatal accidents.


The Accord on Fire and Building Safety had come into effect in 2013 in the aftermath of the collapse of the eight-story Raza Plaza complex in Dhaka which killed more than 1,100 people. The accord has been put in place by IndustriALL, UNI and 17 textile and garment brands. The accord was the first legally binding agreement that was brought in to ensure and improve the safety of workers. More than 200 companies had signed the agreement.The 2013 Accord was extended in 2018 for another three years which involved brands to conduct independent safety inspections, remediation programmes, establish safety committees and safety training programmes, disclosure of inspections reports, setting up complaints mechanisms, safely implement the right to refuse unsafe work and take corrective actions plans. Basically, the 2013 Accord continued from 2013 to August 31, 2021.

Who implements the ACCORD?

Ready-Made Garments Sustainability Council (RSC) which was formed in 2019 by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association looks after the implementation of the 2018 Accord.The RSC has been an unprecedented national initiative, uniting industry, brands and trade unions to ensure a sustainable solution to carry forward the significant accomplishments made on workplace safety in Bangladesh. RSC was also set up to work towards encompassing “industrial relations, skill development and environmental standards”.


The new agreement, the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry, will take effect on September 1 2021. It will replace the landmark Accord on Fire and Building Safety.Please note that earlier accord was related to fire and building safety but the new accord in more comprehensive which deals with health and safety of RMG workers.The new agreement maintains the essence of the earlier accord and includes, “respect for freedom of association, independent administration and implementation, a high-level of transparency, provisions to ensure remediation is financially feasible, safety committee training and worker awareness program, and a credible, independent complaints mechanism.”

The new accord, instead of specifically focusing on fire and building safety, broadens the scope of covering general health and safety. It will work towards safeguarding human rights and maintaining due diligence along the brands’ global supply chains. The new accord will also set in place an arbitration process to implement its terms in a streamlined manner.

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