The Maquila Solidarity Network, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF) have regularly called attention to the need for structural measures to end the consistent and ongoing worker rights violations in the Bangladeshi garment industry.
Together with unions and NGOs in Bangladesh, we have called upon brands and retailers, the Bangladeshi government, factory owners and their associations to take immediate action.
In Canada, we have urged all Canadian retailers sourcing clothes from Bangladesh to work together with US and European retailers and brands, Bangladeshi manufacturers and their industry associations, the Bangladeshi government, and local and international trade union and nongovernmental organizations to tackle the root causes of continuing worker rights violations in the industry.
Thirty-one of the world’s leading apparel retailers and brands have committed to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, accounting for more than 1,000 Bangladeshi garment factories. The legally binding program for fire and building safety includes independent inspections, worker-led health and safety committees and union access to factories, commitments to underwrite improvements in dangerous factories and resolve fire safety and structural problems.
The Maquila Solidarity Network welcomes the precedent-setting announcement by Loblaw Companies (owner of the Joe Fresh brand) that it has joined more than a dozen leading international apparel brands and retailers in signing the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh with the Global Unions IndustriALL and UNI and Bangladeshi unions.
The Maquila Solidarity (MSN) welcomes the decision of H&M, Inditex (owner of the Zara brand), Primark, C&A, Benneton, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and others to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh with the Global Unions IndustriALL and UNI and Bangladeshi unions. MSN is calling on Loblaw (owner of the Joe Fresh label), Gap, Walmart and other North American retailers and brands to also sign the Accord by a May 15 deadline and work together with trade union and labour rights groups to prevent further tragedies like the Rana Plaza building collapse from taking place.
On the eve of the Annual Meeting of Loblaw Companies Limited, 23 prominent Canadian trade unions, NGOs and faith organizations have sent an Open Letter to the company’s Executive Chairman, Galen Weston, calling on his company to take immediate steps to ensure that the deaths and injuries suffered by hundreds of garment workers in the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh are not repeated.
The Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN), along with trade unions and labour rights organisations in Bangladesh and around the world, is calling for immediate action from international brands following the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, in Dhaka Bangladesh. MSN is calling on Joe Fresh and other Canadian brands sourcing from garment factories in the Rana Plaza building to come clean on what they knew about the health and safety record of the factories, compensate the victims, and take steps now to prevent future disasters.
A catastrophic factory fire at the Tazreen Fashion garment factory in Dhaka took the lives of over 112 workers on Saturday, November 24. What was reportedly an electrical malfunction appears to have been compounded by the factory’s lack of basic safety features like emergency exits, functioning fire extinguishers, and worker training.
On October 2, after over a year of discussions with trade union and labour rights organizations, Gap Inc. announced that it is refusing to participate in a groundbreaking fire safety program for the garment industry in Bangladesh. Instead it decided to set up a separate program, accountable to no one – least of all worker representatives.
After months of negotiations with labour rights groups (including MSN) to join PVH and Tchibo in a comprehensive fire safety program in Bangladesh, Gap Inc. broke off talks and announced they were launching their own, company-controlled, fire safety program – one in which factory monitoring is controlled entirely by Gap, with no transparency, no role for workers or their trade unions, no commitment to pay prices to suppliers that make it feasible for them operate responsibly, and no binding commitments of any kind.
The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), IndustriALL Global Union, Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN), together with Bangladeshi trade unions and labour rights groups, have reached an agreement with Tchibo to implement a fire and building safety programme in Bangladeshi garment factories. The German-based company becomes the second retailer to commit to the groundbreaking safety programme, which was first agreed with PVH (owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger) in March. The program will get underway once two more major brands have signed on to the agreement.
One of the tragic lessons from the disastrous accident at the Eurotex factory, in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 2011, was that some international brands that had been producing clothing in the factory already knew there were serious safety hazards. Rather than fix the problems, however, they quietly left the factory, leaving workers to face those hazards alone.