Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety has announced end of its tenure in Bangladesh. The platform of North American fashion brands and retailers also said that from the beginning of 2019 the brands would engage a local company to monitor safety in the factories from which they procure products. The platform made the announcement in its fifth and final annual report issued. The report showed that the total number of Alliance-affiliated factories was 714 at the beginning, though the number of active factories came down to 654 in this December.

According to the report, 93 per cent of faults identified in the factories were corrected, while 428 factories completed 100 per cent remediation works. The Alliance terminated 178 factories from its compliant factory list because of their lack of progress in ensuring a safe working condition. The report also said that the pace of corrective action plans (CAP) were accelerated in last two years as many factories that began operations several years ago would go near completion of remediation. The incomplete remediation works would be accomplished by December, the report hoped. Following the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 24, 2013, that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, North American buyers and retailers formed the Alliance undertaking a five-year plan, which set timeframes and accountability for inspections, trainings and worker empowerment programmes in Bangladesh’s readymade garment sector. “In these past five years, the Alliance, our member brands and the owners of Allianceaffiliated factories have achieved unprecedented progress toward the goal of improving safety in Bangladesh’s readymade garment industry, while simultaneously helping to solidify Bangladesh’s standing as a global leader in garment exports,” said Alliance Executive Director Jim Moriarty.

Maintaining this progress must remain an ongoing effort—and for the member brands, it would remain a top priority long beyond the Alliance’s departure, he said.“Beginning in 2019, most Alliance member brands plan to work through a locally-based organisation to collectively monitor safety in the factories from which they source. Safety must always be an ongoing effort— and for our member brands, it will remain a top priority long beyond the Alliance’s departure,” Moriarty said. The Alliance report said that more than 1.6 mn workers, security guards and factory managers were trained— and retrained—in fire safety. The Alliance’s 24-hour confidential worker helpline reached more than 1.5 mn workers which had already been transferred to local management under Phulki and would soon be available to RMG factories throughout Bangladesh, it said.

The report said that the Alliance developed local training providers to expand its worker training and safety committee programmes beyond Alliance-listed factories and created a sustainable ecosystem of safety in Bangladesh. According to the report, the Alliance partnered with factory owners to provide wage compensation to nearly 6,700 workers displaced by temporary factory closures. After Rana Plaza building collapse, European brands and retailers also formed another platform namely Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. The initiative inspected more than 1,600 factories and completed over 90 per cent of remediation works in the units. Accord wanted more time to stay in Bangladesh as its tenure ended and the issue remained pending in court.