The High Court yesterday definitively extended the tenure of Accord for six more months effective from today, capping months of uncertainty surrounding the matter.
The verdict was given out by Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Salim of the Supreme Court.
Earlier on May 10, the platform of 220 mainly EU-based retailers got the extension from the government to stay in Bangladesh for six more months after its original five-year tenure ends on May 31, only for it to be nulled by a High Court injunction six days later.
On May 16 the bench of Ahmed and Salim had extended the restraining order on the government it gave out on April 4 -- following a writ petition filed by Chittagong-based Smart Jeans -- by three more months.
The restraining order meant the secretary to the ministry of labour and employment, inspector general of the Department of Inspections for Factories and Establishment and the secretary to the ministry of commerce could not extend the Accord's tenure.
But now the issue has been sorted once and for all. The justices ordered the platform to rename it to 'Transitional Accord' and to work under the Transitional Monitoring Committee, said Md Yousuf Ali, an advocate of the Supreme Court.
With the order of the court in place, the platform can continue its activities of inspection and remediation of its affiliated garment factories until November 30, he said.
The Accord, which was formed in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster in April 2013, has completed nearly 90 percent of the remediation works to enhance structural, fire and electrical safety in its 1,620 member factories.
Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at a press conference yesterday said the tenure of Accord will not be extended further after the expiry of the new six-month tenure.
The Remediation Coordination Cell will pick up the baton from Accord and Alliance, the platform of 28 North American retailers formed to enhance garment factory safety in Bangladesh. The Alliance's tenure ends later this month and it will not seek further extension like its European counterpart.
The cell was formed in consultation with the International Labour Organisation, Accord, Alliance, the government and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.