In case of closure of Accord operation in Bangladesh by November 30, the retailers’ platform will declare 532 apparel factories ineligible to produce products for its signatory brands by 1 January 2019. As per the court order, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is supposed to close its operation by November 30, 2018. Meanwhile, sources at the Accord and RMG sector said that the Accord on Fire and Building Safety is going appeal to the court for an extension of tenure. On November 8, Accord chief safety inspector Stephen Quinn sent a letter to its signatory brands and retailers saying that the 2018 Transition Accord faced a restraining order issued by the High Court, which, if not lifted, would force a premature closure of its operation in Bangladesh.

In the letter, the Accord argued that the premature closure would likely have negative consequences related to the Accord’s ability to monitor and verify remediation progress at the Accord-covered factories.

So, all the stage two factories-139 would be escalated to stage three on December 01 and some 393 factories those remain at the stage one for more than six months would be escalated to stage two, potentially stage three by January 01, 2019. “Therefore, if the restraining order is not lifted, these supplier factories will no longer be eligible to produce for any Accord signatory brands,” said the letter. Brands currently sourcing from these factories will be required to terminate their business relationship in accordance with Article 16 of the Accord and time-frame set forth in the Accord Escalation Protocol, it added.

Earlier, a High Court bench issued a directive asking Accord to leave Bangladesh by November 30. The court order also asked the government, not to extend the tenure of Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. “As per the extended deadline, the Accord is supposed to end the inspection and complete the remediation works by November 30, 2018,” Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Senior Vice President Faruque Hassan said. Termination of business relationship is not a solution to this end and it is not logical, said Hassan.

We hope that the Accord will complete their tasks within the deadline and would duly handover the responsibility to the Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC), which will continue the monitoring, he added. The issue of fire and building safety came under the spotlight following the Rana Plaza collapse that killed 1,135 workers in 2013.

After the disaster, the retailers’ platforms Accord on Fire and Building Safety and Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety made a commitment to provide financial and technical support to improve fire and building safety standard of RMG factories in Bangladesh, from which they source products.

The five-year tenure of Accord and Alliance ended on June but later in response to call from the platform the tenure of Accord was extended to November 30, 2018.