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Retailers, Bangla unions agree on 3-month extension to safety accord

Published: 2021-06-01

Retailers and workers’ unions in Bangladesh negotiating a legally binding workers’ safety accord that was due to expire today reached a tentative deal last week to extend it by three months, provided the 200 signatory retailers, which include apparel retailers like Inditex and H&M, agree on the extension. The signatories have until June 10 to give their nod.

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was signed in 2013 after the Rana Plaza collapse that killed at least 1,100. Originally due to expire in May 2018, the accord was extended that year, culminating in the creation of a new organisation called the Readymade Garments Sustainability Council (RSC).

Governed by factories, unions and retailers, RSC took over the accord’s team and duties in June last year but did not immediately commit to extending the legally-binding portion of the agreement beyond its expiration date of May 31, 2021.

Workers’ unions said they will pull out of the organisation now running the accord if retailers do not commit to the legally binding portion of the agreement, obliging them to pay for fixes at supplier factories and banning them from working with these factories until they are deemed safe by accord inspectors, a global newswire reported.