The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (the Accord), which was asked to leave Bangladesh, has attained permission to stay until the Supreme Court (SC) make a final order starting a fresh hearing from December 6 next. The Accord, a five-year independent, legally binding agreement between global brands and retailers and trade unions designed to build a safe and healthy Bangladeshi Ready Made Garment (RMG) Industry was signed on 15th May 2013.
The agreement was signed in the immediate aftermath of the Rana Plaza building collapse that led to the death of more than 1,100 people and injured more than 2,000. The SC fixed December 6 for further hearing on a petition filed by the Accord recently challenging a High Court directive that asked it to end all activities in Bangladesh on November 30. Formed after the Rana Plaza collapse in April 2013 to enhance workplace safety, the Accord has been insisting on a three-year extension to see through the remediation works in its sourcing factories. But the government is adamant on not extending the platform’s tenure any further than the six months it had given on May 13.
In a verdict to a case filed by the Chittagong-based Smart Jeans, the court said its observation is a must if the tenure of the Accord is to be extended for any reason. As a result, the extension or departure of the Accord is hanging on the court’s verdict. A six-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Justice Muhammad Imman Ali passed the order hearing on the appeal.