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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Accord to inspect Liberty Fashions factory on Mar 22

Bangla Apparel Desk

March 20, 2017

Accord, a platform of more than 200 European retailers, is set to conduct an initial inspection of Liberty Fashion Wears Ltd, once a major supplier of its members, on March 22, as directed by the High Court.

The platform last week sent an e-mail to the factory owner, Mozammel Huq, in this connection.

Liberty Fashion Wears was skipped for inspection by the agency after Medway Consultancy Services (MCS), one of the consulting firms of Accord member Tesco, in May 2013 deemed the four-storied building on 20 bighas of land at Zirani to be vulnerable.

Following MCS's report Tesco and other brands stopped sourcing from the factory, which compelled Huq, chairman and managing director of Liberty Fashion Wears, to close down operations.

Huq, however, refused to accept the report from MCS and ran tests on soil and Detailed Engineering Assessment by the experts of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association. Both Buet and BGMEA gave positive reports. Experts from the International Labour Organisation also said the building was fit for operation.

Emboldened by the positive reports from Buet, BGMEA and ILO, the factory management opened negotiations with Tesco, the factory's lead buyer, once again but Tesco did not budge from its previous position.

As per the rules, the Accord engineers were supposed to check the Liberty Fashion Wears building as well when the inspection rounds started in June 2013, as Tesco is a member of the platform.

But, the Accord upheld the decision of the MCS and did not inspect the building. Huq challenged the decision of the Accord and filed a writ petition with the High Court through Imtiaz Moinul Islam.

On March 2, a division bench of the High Court comprising Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice Md Faruque gave the verdict in favour of Liberty Fashion Wears.

The court ordered the Accord to conduct an immediate inspection and publish the findings on its website as well as circulate them among its members. Rob Wayss, executive director and acting chief safety inspector of the Accord, could not be reached by phone for comments.

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