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Alliance completes 88pc garment factory remediation work

Workplace safety

FE Report | March 16, 2018 00:00:00

Some 88 per cent of the factory remediation work has been complete across all active garment factories in the country as the Alliance continues its efforts to improve safety of workers in the country's readymade garment (RMG) sector, its Executive Director Jim Moriarty said on Thursday.

"As of Thursday, 322 Alliance-affiliated factories have completed all material components in their corrective action plans (CAPs) and are considered substantially remediated," he said at a press conference at a city hotel.

Alliance's five-year term of jurisdiction ends in the middle of this year.

About future regulators in the sector, he said, "The Alliance will transition our activities to a safety monitoring organisation managed by credible, trusted local partners by the end of this year."

This entity, in parallel with Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC), will continue to oversee factory inspections, monitoring and the Alliance's highly successful helpline and training programmes, he added.

He also said members of the Alliance might form an independent and separate platform to look into the safety activities in the country's readymade garment sector during the Alliance's transition to a safety monitoring organisation if a local and competent authority could not be established.

In May last year, the government launched RCC with a view to managing the remediation process for garment factories and taking over the responsibility of ongoing safety activities from Accord and the Alliance once their tenure expires in the middle of 2018.

After the Rana Plaza building collapse, two separate platforms of western retailers have been formed to improve the workplace safety in the country's RMG sector. One is Accord with more than 200 apparel brands, retailers and trade unions mostly based in European Union and the other is Alliance, a group of 29 apparel companies and buyers mostly based in North America.

Some 290 factories, out of Alliance's active 666 units, have required structural retrofitting and 264 of them -- 91 per cent-have fully completed retrofitting in the last five years, Mr Moriarty said.

Also, a total of 118 factories, out of 141 that have needed to install sprinkler systems, have completed such installation, he added.

Nearly all factories have now upgraded their outdated electrical systems and nearly all have installed fire doors that provide an escape route for workers and help stop a fire from spreading, he noted.

More than 1.4 million workers across nearly 1000 factories have the availability of the helpline-Amader Kotha-and they also have been provided training related to urgent safety issues, he said.

"If these gains are going to be sustained over the long-term, however, they must be owned and led locally from within Bangladesh. The government and all other parties involved must commit themselves to making safety the rule, not the exception, in factories throughout the country," he opined.

All of these advancements are not only good for the safety and well-being of workers, they are also good for businesses, Mr Moriarty said, adding upgraded factories can help keep Bangladesh on the map globally as a trusted supplier and will protect against accidents that can destroy lives, property and products and exact a huge human and financial toll.

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