According to Reuters, Bangladesh is on the cusp of reversing nearly all of the safety measures put into place after the Rana Plaza disaster, a move that would threaten the well being of millions of garment workers.
“The safety of workers making clothing for global brands like Adidas and H&M could be at risk if Bangladesh’s Supreme Court moves on Sunday to shut down a factory inspection mechanism” established by the 200 labels and unions that joined together to form the Bangladesh Accord after the Rana Plaza collapse.
Apparently, last year, a factory owner was “prevented from working with Accord brands” after being “accused of false test results,” so he started a petition to get rid of the gatekeeping group. The Supreme Court sided with the factory owner and subsequently ordered the Accord to “shut down” and hand over monitoring duties to the government.
The Accord has since appealed that decision, and now it’s again up to the supreme court – which already ruled the wrong way, once – to make the final decision.
As the story noted, the “government has shown ‘a shocking level of unreadiness’ to take over from the Bangladesh Accord” and exactly zero of the 745 factories “under the government’s RCC inspectors… eliminated high-risk hazards — such as lockable exits that could trap workers during a fire.”
(According to one report, the Accord had “banned 114 critically unsafe factories from supplying its signatory buyers,” but “half of these facilities remain open under the government’s inspection program.”)
“At this moment, the Accord is the only organization that is meaningfully and transparently making factories safer,” a union spokeswoman said, emphasizing that a “forced early transition could jeopardize the finalization of the vital elements of remediation” required to make “some 1,700 factories safe before it is scheduled to hand over to government inspectors in 2021.”
You can read more about it at Reuters.