The International Accord on Health and Safety has been extended. The accord covers manufacturing countries Bangladesh and Pakistan and includes agreements on safety in garment factories.
The agreement was due to expire on 31 October, but after negotiations, the deadline was extended, with a three-year period and an automatic three-year extension thereafter now added.
The accord is an agreement between fashion brands and unions, under which standardised and independent safety inspections in garment factories are mandatory. Should unsafe situations be found, they must also be addressed immediately. This mainly concerns fire and building safety. In addition, brands must further ensure that garment workers can complain if working conditions are unsafe. Workers are also allowed to refuse work if safety cannot be guaranteed.
The International Accord on Health and Safety began in Bangladesh and was formerly called the Bangladesh Accord. It was established following the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 in Bangladesh, where a building collapsed due to cracks that had been ignored days earlier. More than 1,100 workers were killed. The accord was extended to Pakistan after some years.
The extension of the agreement is good news, but several things are currently at play in Bangladesh. Textile workers have taken to the streets over calls for higher wages. These protests are sometimes accompanied by violence and already two people have been killed.