|This story was produced by IndustriALL Global Union|
May 16, 2013 – The world’s leading retail labels commit to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh before the midnight deadline. The Accord now covers more than 1000 Bangladeshi garment factories. Implementation starts now!
IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union in a powerful alliance with leading NGOs, Clean Clothes Campaign and Workers Rights Consortium have changed the rules of the game for workers in Bangladesh. We welcome the decision of the companies who have signed up to the Accord for acting responsibly in the light of the Rana Plaza tragedy. Forty-eight hours ago H&M started the ball rolling and we now have the major global household brands on board.
As the countdown closed the following companies had signed on: H&M, Inditex, C&A, PVH, Tchibo, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Primark, El Corte Inglés, jbc, Mango, Carrefour, KiK, Helly Hansen, G-Star, Aldi, New Look, Mothercare, Loblaws, Sainsbury’s, Benetton, N Brown Group, Stockmann, WE Europe, Esprit, Rewe, Next, Lidl, Hess Natur, Switcher, Abercrombie & Fitch.
IndustriALL Global Union General Secretary, Jyrki Raina said,
“The companies who signed up are to be applauded. H&M showed the way by being the first to sign this week. We will not close the door on brands who want to join the Accord after the deadline but we will be forging ahead with the implementation plan from today. Those who want to join later will not be in a position to influence decisions already made. The train moves on and these companies will drive the process – there can be no uncommitted passengers because the stakes are too high. We are talking improving the working conditions and lives of some of the most exploited workers in the world, earning $38 a month in dangerous conditions.”
UNI Global Union General Secretary, Philip Jennings said,
“We made it! This accord is a turning point. We are putting in place rules that mark the end of the race to the bottom in the global supply chain.”
Commenting on the no-shows Jennings said,
“Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is out of step. By not signing up the Walmart brand sinks to a new low. Equally Gap’s refusal to join is a mistake that shoppers will not forget. We will make progress without them.”
In agreeing to the binding programme of fire and building safety reforms based on independent inspections, worker-led health and safety committees and union access to factories, signatories commit to underwrite improvements in dangerous factories and properly confront fire safety and structural problems. Importantly the Accord grants workers the right to refuse dangerous work, in line with ILO Convention 155.