The Accord, which has been locked in a tug of war with the government over its right to continue its activities in Bangladesh, has to wait until April 15 to learn of its fate after the Supreme Court yesterday decided to hold another hearing on the issue.
“The court will hear more details on April 15,” said Additional Attorney General Murad Reza, who appeared for the government.
The tenure of Accord, a platform of more than 200 retailers formed to enhance garment factory safety in Bangladesh after the Rana Plaza collapse in April 2013, had originally ended in May last year.
It has been insisting a three-year extension to see through the remediation works in its 1,600 sourcing factories -- a demand that the government and the garment factory owners are not willing to entertain.
The platform of mostly Europe-based retailers got a six-month extension until November last year, much to its dismay. It took the matter to court, where it has been dragging on.
“Accord cannot stay here for an indefinite period,” Reza added.
The platform not only wants to see through the remediation works in its sourcing factories but also wants to build the capacity of its successor, the Remediation Coordination Cell, said Rob Wayss, executive director of the Accord.
“We want to ensure that it can adequately regulate safety in garment factories in Bangladesh. We think this is a sensible approach.”
The recent fire accidents indicate that there is still a lot of work left to achieve fire safety in buildings in Bangladesh, he said in his email to The Daily Star.
As of now, the Accord engineers have verified that about 225 of its sourcing factories have completed safety remediation of fire, electrical and structural safety hazards.
The platform wants to verify in person that all its sourcing factories have completed their recommended remediation works.
Approximately 18 percent of the items that are reported as fixed are found not to be fully and/or not properly fixed when Accord engineers conduct the verification inspections, according to Wayss.
“There is still remediation and workplace based safety work that needs to be completed at most Accord-covered supplier factories.”
Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, declined to comment on the issue as it is a subject of the court.