Supreme Court of Bangladesh gives further extension for Bangladesh Accord hearing

today Apr 15, 2019
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The Supreme Court of Bangladesh decided on April 15 to schedule the next hearing for the Bangladesh Accord for May 19, giving another short-term extension to allow more time for negotiations.

The Bangladesh Accord was created following the Rana Plaza disaster where a factory fell down and killed many garment workers - AFP/Munir UZ ZAMAN

At a court hearing on Monday, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh ruled for the fourth time to give an extension to the legally binding rule of the Bangladesh Accord. The decision was reached after the Bangladeshi government’s own data showed that its own regulators were not ready to oversee the country’s ready made garment industry. 

“The Bangladesh Accord has saved lives and has helped make the country’s garment industry more sustainable,” the Head of Accord co-signatory UNI Commerce, Mathias Bolton said, according to a press release. “The Accord must be allowed to continue operations in the country until the government is ready to effectively take over the training, inspection, and remediation functions of the Accord. Currently, the government clearly does not have that capacity.” 

The Bangladeshi government had issued a restraining order on the Accord that was due to take effect in November 2018. However, the 2018 Transition Accord, which came into effect in May 2018, aims to extend the Accord’s protections into 2021. The court has ruled to extend the protections of the accord for now. 

“It is good that the Court has decided to allow more time for negotiations between the Accord and the BGMEA and the Government,” said Accord co-signatory IndustriALL’s assistant general secretary Jenny Holdcroft. “The Accord cannot cease its operations without a resolution that protects garment workers in Bangladesh now and into the future.”

The Bangladesh Accord, which enforces guidelines for the country’s garment producing industry, was signed in 2013 following the Rana Plaza disaster. The accord was created with a legally-binding mandate to ensure that fashion brands confirm that their contracted factories meet fire and structural safety standards. This facilitated improvements to garment factories such as installing fire doors, sprinkler systems, and upgrading electric wiring for over 1,700 factories. 

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