Alliance has decided to look for a way to carry forward its inspections, safety monitoring, training and helpline services in Bangladesh. Its five-year-term draws to a close at the end of the year. Now, it’s discussing plans to form a successor safety monitoring organization (SMO). This will be an independent, credible, locally-led organisation that will continue Alliance’s work. Initially, the plan was to place Alliance’s work in the hands of local stakeholders like the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) and trade unions. But this seems to have changed now.
Alliance is a factory inspection platform of 28 North American retailers. Since its founding in July 2013, Alliance claims to have affected a sea change on safety within Alliance-affiliated factories. According to the organisation, remediation across more than 600 factories is 90 per cent complete and 1.4 mn workers in nearly 1,000 factories have access to the 24-hour Alliance helpline. In addition, 1.5 mn workers have been trained in fire safety and democratically elected Worker Safety Committees have been established in nearly 200 factories. Fortifying safety in factories and equipping workers with empowerment tools is Alliance’s focus. Safe garment factories protect millions of workers and they are critical to maintaining Bangladesh’s standing as a world leader in garment production.