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Bangladesh groups disagree over handover to local body

With the five-year compact over garment workers’ safety in Bangladesh coming to its conclusion at the end of 2018, the Asian country’s government wants monitoring of safety in factories to become the responsibility of a local body, the Remediation Co-ordination Cell (RCC).

One group, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, which has European brands as the majority of its signatories, has said it will hand over to RCC as planned at the end of the year. However, rival group, the Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, has said it wants to stay.

In a statement at the end of July, the Accord, which represents 180 mostly North American brands, said it did not believe the RCC is ready to take on the work and it urged the government of Bangladesh to allow it to continue its work beyond the end of 2018 and hand over to the RCC at a later date.

In the statement, the Accord said the RCC is “at its earliest stages of development” and it warned that putting it in charge of workplace safety too soon would leave workers in the Bangladeshi garment industry “in unsafe circumstances”.

In turn, this would jeopardise brands’ ability to source from “a safe industry”, it warned, which may make them reconsider sourcing decisions.

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