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Accord differs with Alliance on factory inspections

The rift between the North American retailers group Alliance and the European group Accord over garment safety inspection in Bangladesh has surfaced again as Accord has declined to accept inspection of any factory by any individual retailer under Alliance. Bangladesh garment factory owners say this stance of Accord would add to the problems of the embattled garment industry. This means more than 200 factories will have to be inspected again even after this has been done by American retailers under Alliance.

Accord says it would consider inspection reports of Alliance on some conditions. All corrective action plans for a faulty unit will have to meet the approval of Accord and all Accord obligations will remain in full effect for Accord brands regardless of whether Alliance brands accept these obligations.

European retailers feel that Alliance is lenient in factory inspection. Accord, on the other hand, has been criticised for its tough stance on the inspection process and its reluctance in giving any fund to workers of any factory closed during the inspection. After the Rana Plaza factory collapse on April 24 last year that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, western retailers and apparel brands, reacting to public outrage, began a major push to improve safety at the Bangladeshi factories they do business with. But instead of joining forces, the western brands have divided into two feuding camps.