Welcome RSC as it takes over factory inspection regime03 June 2020
RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) - a local inspection entity jointly formed by BGMEA and representation of different brands, retailers and trade unions finally started functioning from June 1 taking over from Accord made up by European buyers. The handover basically shows the change of the guard from internationally supervised buyers' inspection to a local inspection entity to sustain the achievements made on workplace safety and remediation. It is a welcome move.
RSC took over the monitoring from Accord at a time garment factories in Bangladesh has made tremendous structural improvement. New factories have come up with state of the art machines and the biggest numbers of green garment factories now locate in Bangladesh. Accord, a platform of more than 200 European retailers and brands emerged on buyers' pressures after Rana Plaza building collapse in April 2013. It was a big catastrophe when over 1200 workers perished in a factory building collapse.
The country suffered major image setback and the new inspection regime was forced upon Bangladesh for physical verification of working environment at each and every garment factories European brands buy their apparels from. They wanted to ensure structural safety, protection of electric fixtures to prevent fire and such other workplace issues as protest flare up in European countries.
The Accord was set up on a five-year binding agreement with BGMEA and around 90 percent corrective actions plan for remediation were completed over the past seven years. But in doing so Accord often brought undue and unjustified pressure on local garment factories fulfill the interest of their international brands. At times Accord proved guilty of violating its own rules.
BGMEA's demand for transfer of inspection and certification to a national entity and it succeeded later last year when a High Court order says Accord can stay in Bangladesh until May this year. The RSC has been set its journey from June this year. The new body includes representatives of local manufacturers, international brands and local trade union.
We must say RSC is an unprecedented national initiative which has established the control of factory inspection and such other labour issues to a national entity. It is a leap forward inasmuch as it will not allow undue pressure and intervention of multinationals on Bangladesh's garment industry. They have one-third representatives on the Board of the new entity and it deny any chance of imposing unilateral decision any more on trade issues.