New fire safety related conditions being imposed by Accord are harming the apparel industry, BGMEA President Rubana Huq said. “Accord takes many decisions without discussing with us. The new conditions are slowing down our pace,” the Chief of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said at the ‘Workshop on fire safety issues and technical guideline’ at a hotel in the capital. She also accused Accord of violating conditions of the memorandum of understanding. “It’s imposing conditions that should have been set in the past and this is harming the industry,” Huq said.
Bangladesh is the world’s second largest exporter of garment products. The country attracts renowned clothing brands with is its cheap labour. But the sector, which employs over four million workers, had faced some fires and accidents due to lax safety measures. The government sprang into action after the 2012 fire at Tazreen Fashions followed by the Rana Plaza collapse, which highlighted the poor working condition at the factories.
The Accord was formed as an independent and legally binding agreement between brands and trade unions to work towards a safe and healthy garment and textile industry in Bangladesh. Rubana said they learned many things from Accord and urged it to give “a clear guideline about fire safety.”