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Bangladesh: Accord should be allowed to continue

A premature cessation of Accord’s operations in Bangladesh would be a major setback for worker safety in the country. Over the past two months, at least 95 people have died in fires in buildings. The same combination of owners’ negligence of building regulations and authorities’ failure to inspect buildings and enforce regulations that made Rana Plaza possible is still a daily reality in Bangladesh. Authorities fail to notice or act on the knowledge that buildings have no safety licenses, violate building construction rules, have no fire-protected exits and keep many of their emergency doors locked, despite earlier fires.

The 193 Accord signatory companies have a binding obligation to only source from factories where Accord has verified that the fire, electrical, and structural safety remediation process is on track. Cognizant of that obligation, brands have made clear that a premature termination of Accord could endanger the safety of workers employed in the garment industry.

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is an enforceable agreement signed by apparel brands and trade unions following the Rana Plaza building collapse of April 2013 that killed 1,134 garment workers. Accord provides independent safety inspections, transparent remediation protocols as well a worker complaint mechanism and training. As a result, unprecedented safety improvements have been made to factories across the country.