Garment workers at a factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Settlement reached with global fashion brand in Bangladesh Accord arbitration

15.12.2017

IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union have reached a settlement agreement in a case under the legally-binding enforcement mechanisms of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. 

This settlement will ensure that the supplier factories associated with this leading fashion brand are remediated and that substantial funds are available for that remediation work consistent with the 2013 Bangladesh Accord.

Global union federations, IndustriALL and UNI, launched arbitrations against two leading fashion brands in 2016.  This settlement agreement applies to one of those two cases.

The case hinged on whether the global brands involved met the Accord requirements to require their suppliers to remediate facilities within the mandatory deadlines imposed by the Accord and to negotiate commercial terms to make it financially feasible for their suppliers to cover the costs of remediation.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague has required that the names of the brands remain confidential.

The Bangladesh Accord, signed in 2013 after the Rana Plaza industrial disaster, covers 2.5 million workers in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment factories It is the first agreement with a legally-binding mandate requiring fashion brands to help their contractors eliminate fire and structural safety issues.

So far, the Accord’s inspectors have completed fire and building safety reviews at 1,800 facilities which supply more than 200 signatory brands. Accord engineers have identified over 118,500 fire, electrical and structural hazards at these factories.

Nearly 80 per cent of workplace dangers discovered in the Accord’s original round of inspections have been remediated, and 500 Accord factories have completed 90 percent or more of the necessary fixes.

A second Accord was signed in June of this year. It goes into effect when the original agreement expires in May 2018 and extends the Accord’s protections until 2021.