28 April, 2022Four days before 28 April, International Workers’ Memorial Day, marks the anniversary of one of the deadliest workplace accidents in the world; the collapse of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh in 2013, killing 1,232 people and injuring scores more. The victims had gone to work in the morning, despite raising fears over the unstable structure of the building. But workers were told by the employer that they would lose their jobs if they didn’t come to work.
Out of the rubble, the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building safety was born. It’s a landmark, legally binding agreement which has made the garment industry safer for the people who work in it.
Employers have a duty of care for the health and safety of its workers. Everyone should go to work in the morning, safe in the conviction that they will return home alive.
Last year, the Bangladesh Accord transformed into an International Accord, extending the scope to countries outside of Bangladesh. To date, over 170 brands have signed up, but the majority of North American brands are conspicuously lacking from the list of signatories.
“It is critical that North American brands and retailers to get off the sidelines to join the global effort to safeguard workers' lives on a global scale. It is unacceptable that these brands are unwilling to commit to ensuring that health and safety of the workers in their global supply chain. IndustriALL will continue to demand and campaign for all global brands and retailers to sign the agreement,”
says IndustriALL textile director Christina Hajagos-Clausen.
IndustriALL is joining the global call to make health and safety in the workplace a fundamental right at the International Labour Conference in June this year.