The Alliance for Bangladesh worker Safety, a consortium of North American fashion brands and buyers, recently announced that 400 readymade garment factories affiliated with the platform had so far completed remediation of 100 per cent safety faults. The buyers’ platform, announcing completion of remediation of 36 more factories, said that 91 per cent of factory remediation was completed across all Alliance factories till Monday. “We are pleased to report that remediation of Alliance factories continues at a rapid pace. We are confident that the vast majority of factories operating under the Alliance that supply our member companies will be in excellent shape and will function fully in accordance with our rigorous safety standards at the time of our transition at the end of this calendar year,” Alliance Executive Director Jim Moriarty said.

Following the Rana Plaza building collapse on April 24, 2013, North American retailers, including Walmart and Gap, formed the Alliance undertaking a five-year plan, which set timeframes and accountability for inspections and training and workers empowerment programmes. Around 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, were killed in the building collapse. The tenure of platform ended in June this year and the Alliance is now working in a six-month transition period. Even after the dissolution of the Alliance, the member brands of the platform will continue to monitor conditions in Bangladesh factories from which they source to verify that those factories remain safe going forward, Moriarty said.

The Alliance has so far severed business ties with 173 factories as the units failed to make adequate progress in fixing safety faults. The Alliance inspected more than 700 garment factories and the number of active factories of the platform was 671 till August. Immediately after the Rana Plaza building collapse European retailers formed another platform namely Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh to improve workplace safety in Bangladesh readymade garment sector. The European initiative has so far inspected more than 1,600 factories and cut business relations with 171 factories due to failure in making required progress in remediation.