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Current Affairs

Bangladesh garment workers sign safety pact with global retailers

Date: 31 August 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

 Garment workers and factory owners in Bangladesh have managed to sign a safety pact with global retailers.

 

Background

Previously there was an Accord on Fire and Building Safety that had come into effect after collapse of Raza Plaza complex due to fire incident.

 

 

Details

  • The pact is known as the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry. It is valid for two years and legally binding.

  • Global unions including IndustriALL and UNI Global Union have signed the pact along with leading brands like H&M and Inditex.

 

Safety of garment workers in Bangladesh

  • Currently, lakhs of workers are engaged in garment sector. They are said to operate in highly unsafe factory conditions vulnerable to fire.

  • The Accord on Fire and Building Safety had made brands responsible to set basic standards of workplace, minimum wages, public reports on the factories, independent factory inspections, constant repairs and renovations.

 

The new safety and health accord

  • The Ready-Made Garments Sustainability Council (RSC) manages the accord. Bangladesh earns about 80 per cent of its export earnings from garment sector.

  • The sector employs 4.2 million people. Large number of people die due to unsafe working conditions and some experience permanent disability.

  • An optional arbitration process will be set up to implement its terms in a streamlined process. It will look towards making long term changes.

 

Significance

  • The new agreement will make textile and garment industry safe and sustainable. Companies are bound legally to follow these criteria.

  • The agreement not just covers fire and building safety but broadens the scope to cover general health and safety.

 

Ready-Made Garments Sustainability Council (RSC) 

  • It is an organization set up by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in 2019.

  • It will be handling the implementation of the 2018 Accord. It will also ease the functioning of business and ensure environmental standards.