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AFBWS wants ‘credible, independent Bangladeshi body’

Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (AFBWS), a platform of North American fashion brands and buyers, wants to hand over its safety programme in Bangladesh’s readymade garment factories to a local body that should be independent and credible. AFBWSs Executive Director, Jim Moriarty said recently, ‘We are in conversations now with International Labour Organisation, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh government and other stakeholders so that a credible, independent effort to monitor factory safety remains, long after the Alliance is gone.” He noted the Alliance would expire next year and its member brands would continue to do business with Bangladesh’s factories that would remain safe in the future.

Alliance-listed factories would be significantly safer when the platform would transition to a new body compared to what the factories were in 2013. He was hopeful that a different strategy would be required to keep the factories safe. “Our plan has always been to transition this work to local partners in 2018,” Moriarty, also a former US ambassador to Bangladesh, said.

According to the report, 85 per cent of the required safety flaws that included 80 per cent high priority safety issues have been fixed in the Alliance-listed factories. It recorded that 234 factories completed all required remediation prescribed in a corrective action plan, while the platform suspended business relations with 162 factories due to their non-implementation of CAP.

As per the fourth annual report, the Alliance formed safety committees in around 171 Alliance-listed factories and over 13 lakh workers across 941 Alliance and non-Alliance factories that have access to its confidential worker helpline. Over 14 lakh workers and nearly 27,000 security guards received training in basic fire safety from the platform.