IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union are reaching out to global garment brands to be part of the 2018 Bangladesh Accord on fire and building safety. The 2018 agreement was announced by the global unions and brand representatives at the OECD in Paris this June.
IndustriALL and UNI have written to existing Accord brands that have not yet signed the new agreement to call on them to sign up. To date, 30 brands have signed the 2018 Accord, bringing more than 1,160 Bangladesh garment factories into the scope of the new agreement.
The two global unions are calling on brands to sign up to the Accord by 5 October 2017, in time for the World Day for Decent Work on 7 October.
“Our work must continue in Bangladesh because the Accord is still the only credible option to ensure structural integrity and fire safety in garment factories there,” said Jenny Holdcroft, IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary. “Not enough factories have been fully remediated and too many life-threatening safety issues remain uncorrected.”
Unions, non-governmental organizations and brands announced the first Bangladesh Accord in the weeks following the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, which claimed the lives of more than 1,100 workers, injuring 2,500 more.
Under the first Accord, engineers carried out fire, electrical, and structural safety inspections at more than 1,800 factories, identifying 118,500 hazards. Seventy-nine percent of workplace dangers identified in the Accord’s original round of inspections have been remediated.
“While many brands talk about supply chain transparency and social responsibility, those are just empty words without accountability,” said Christy Hoffman, Deputy General Secretary of UNI. “The Bangladesh Accord is the only platform that is legally binding, and its track record of life-saving remediation is proof of the effectiveness of this model.”
The new 2018 Accord goes into effect after the 2013 Accord expires in May 2018. It builds on the achievements of the first Accord and maintains the ground-breaking, legally binding framework and commitment to transparency. It also adds new worker protections and ensures that many more factories will be inspected and renovated, as signatory brands add suppliers.
An important element of the 2018 Accord is to work towards handing over its functions to an appropriate national regulatory body, once that is in place. IndustriALL and UNI are committed to working with and supporting the Government of Bangladesh and the BGMEA to ensure that happens as soon as possible.