A new initiative between the Government of Bangladesh, the European Union and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) today gives full backing to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Government has pledged to quickly boost employee rights and recruit more factory inspectors as it seeks to preserve European Union trade benefits after 1,129 workers were killed in the collapse of a garment plant at Rana Plaza in April.
The EU, which gives preferential access to Bangladeshi garments, has threatened punitive measures to press Dhaka to improve worker safety standards after the collapse of the illegally built Rana Plaza factory.
In a joint statement to launch the new EU Compact, EU Commissioner Karel de Gucht, ILO Director General Guy Ryder, and Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dupi Moni said they: “Welcome the fact that over 70 major fashion and retail brands sourcing RMG from Bangladesh have signed an Accord on Fire and Building Safety to coordinate their efforts to help improve safety in Bangladesh’s factories which supply them. In this context, they encourage other companies, including SMEs, to join the Accord expeditiously within their respective capacities.”
IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina welcomed this new endorsement: “As we reach another important milestone in the Bangladesh Accord, reaching the end of the first 45-day implementation process, we welcome this further high-profile endorsement. The EU is late to the game but it has an essential role in the work to make the Bangladeshi garment industry safe.
“Every day more companies sign the Accord. The new Compact recognizes the urgency of more companies signing the Accord and broadening the coalition to the benefit of Bangladeshi workers.
UNI Global Union Deputy General Secretary, Christy Hoffman, said: “The Accord is moving forward with the support of the companies and the backing of the international institutions including the EU, ILO and the UN. Together we will improve the lives of Bangladeshi garment factory workers”.
The full list of company signatories to the Accord:
Abercrombie & Fitch
El Corte Ingles
Hess Natur-Textilien GmbH
Marks and Spencer
Scoop NYC / Zac Posen
Sean John Apparel
Shop Direct Group
Voice Norge AS