Otto Group signs Pakistan Safety Accord

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2023-01-23 13:27:25 – Pakistan

The International Safety Accord for Pakistan has received an early signature from German e-commerce behemoth Otto Group.

The Pakistan Accord on Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry, which was signed by the Otto Group and retailer Tchibo for an interim duration of three years beginning in 2023, is a binding agreement between worldwide union federations, UNI Global Union and IndustriALL Global Union.

After nine years of operation in the Bangladeshi garment industry, the International Safety Accord announced in December that it was expanding its activities into Pakistan. The International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry's signatories construct a thorough occupational health and safety program in Pakistan that covers the signatories’ garment and textile suppliers. 

The Pakistan Accord builds on the significant improvements in safety that have been made in Bangladesh and includes all of the key elements of the International Accord: independent safety inspections to address identified fire, electrical, structural, and boiler hazards, monitoring and supporting remediation, a safety committee training and worker safety awareness program, an independent complaints mechanism, a commitment to broad transparency, and local capacity-building to improve a culture of health and safety.

Professor Dr Tobias Wollermann, group vice president of corporate responsibility for Otto Group, said that the collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory in Bangladesh in 2013 represented a turning moment for the global textile sector. The Otto Group played a significant part in the deal, which later went by the name "Bangladesh Accord," and which significantly raised labor and safety standards in the South Asian nation.

Wollermann added that it was obvious that other nations besides Bangladesh should also benefit from the new agreement (International Accord) for occupational safety in the global textile and clothing industry in 2021 when the Otto Group, along with many other international companies and international trade unions, reached that conclusion. He is happy that they signed the new Pakistan Accord today because of this. A positive future potential for Pakistan is the expansion of the successes the Accord has achieved in Bangladesh for the protection of employees.

The signatories decided to extend the workplace safety initiative to at least one other nation that produces textiles and apparel as a result of Bangladesh's positive experience. The Accord Secretariat evaluated the viability of expanding based on important aspects through signatory surveys, in-depth research, and local stakeholder engagements. Pakistan became a top focus, in part due to the Accord companies' reliance on it as a source of clothing and textiles.

The International Accord has engaged extensively with federal and provincial governments, business associations, vendors, labor unions, and civil society organizations in Pakistan.

Phased implementation of the Pakistan Accord programs will take place in close coordination with these important stakeholders and with the creation of a national governance body.

The Cut-Make-Trim (CMT) facilities covered by the Pakistan Accord include suppliers of knit accessories, ready-made garments (RMG), home textiles, and fabric (including vertically integrated facilities). Implementation of this coverage is planned for a later stage of the program, and it also applies to fabric mills that are a part of the signatories' supply chains. The program intends to gradually reach more than 500 factories in Sindh and Punjab that produce for more than 100 Accord signatory companies and account for the majority of Pakistan's $20 billion in textile and apparel exports each year.

It is anticipated that all parties to the International Accord who now source from Pakistan will sign the Pakistan Accord as well.

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