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Bangladesh clothing industry accuses European buyers’ alliance Accord of interference

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2015-06-16 00:19:12 BdST

File Photo

Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exporters Association (BGMEA) has accused European buyers of interference in the apparel factories.

BGMEA President Atiqul Islam made the allegation at a meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Monday.

The industry lobby met Muhith to press for reconsidering several budget proposals for the 2015-16 financial year regarding taxation for the sector.

Islam labelled Accord a ‘big problem’ for Bangladesh’s readymade apparel industry.

He said it was supposed to look into factory building’s security, fire safety and working condition but it was now interfering in internal management matters.

“Factory owners have the legal right to appoint and suspend workers,” he said.

“A factory suspended six workers on rational grounds but Rob Ways was forcing the factory to keep them.”

Ways heads Accord in Bangladesh.

Islam also alleged that Ways was an ‘agent’ of the US trade union AFLCIO.

“Accord and Alliance are insisting on changing the electrical wiring of all factories with wires that can withstand fire for two hours.”

“They argue that since traffic jams happen a lot in our country, it takes fire service two hours to reach the accident site,” Islam added.

He said those costly wires would have to be imported before adding such interference was a new challenge before the garment sector.

The finance minister said Accord’s activities were ‘undesirable’ and that he would look into the matter.

“We invited Accord and Alliance to help us but now it seems they themselves have become a problem,” he said.

“Unusual pressure is undesirable.”

On May 9, the BGMEA president sent a letter to Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, criticising Accord’s activities.