The Bangladesh high court has stayed the implementation of the Bangladesh Accord for Building and Fire Safety 2018 agreement between European fashion brands and trade unions in the country’s readymade garment industry as its tenure was extended without the approval of the government. A court bench froze the new agreement until May 15 2018. The order came in response to a writ petition filed by Bangladesh National Garments Workers Employees League President Lima Ferdous, according to a report.

Asking the government why the decision to extend the agreement without permission from the government, owners and workers should not be declared illegal, the bench offered the Bangladesh Accord Foundation, the Labour Ministry and the chief inspector at the department of inspection for factories and establishments four weeks to respond to the ruling.

The second Accord, signed on June 21 this year, is scheduled to go into effect in May 2018 for three years after the first one signed in May 2013 expires. Bangladesh’s garment factory owners have objected to the new agreement. The government is supporting the owners.

The agreement has so far been signed by Kmart Australia, Target Australia, Primark, H&M, Inditex, C&A, Otto, KiK, Aldi South, Aldi North, Lidl, Tchibo, LC Waikiki and Helly Hansen. Another eight brands have committed to signing it. Global unions IndustriALL and UNI recently called on fashion brands to sign the second Accord for saying extension of the Accord is the ‘only credible way’ to prevent life-threatening hazards in garment factories in Bangladesh.