Major retail companies behind the global Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord showed their commitment to improving the lives of Bangladeshi garment workers at the kick-off meeting.
At the meeting held at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, the companies alongside IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union agreed to immediately move forward with implementing the Accord. The aim is to have safety inspectors on the ground as quickly as possible in order to begin to fix the most urgent problems.
The participants, including the Clean Clothes Campaign and the Worker Rights Consortium who have signed as witnesses to the agreement, said that the Accord was an opportunity to rectify the unacceptable risks currently faced by Bangladeshi garment workers because of poor standards on factory safety.
More than 1,100 people died in the Rana Plaza building collapse, Bangladesh's largest industrial tragedy, sparking a worldwide debate on how to improve safety.
IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina said, "This is standard setting work from the nearly 40 founding signatory clothing brands of the legally binding Accord with IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union. Workers everywhere will now seek to expand this historic Accord to other countries and to other industrial sectors. We are invigorated to work with this critical mass of market leading clothing brands and retailers to turn the sentiments of the Accord into reality in Bangladesh."
UNI Global Union General Secretary, Philip Jennings said, "It is time to roll up our sleeves and get on with the urgent task of improving factory safety in Bangladesh."
Work is now beginning on the implementation phase of the Accord.
Here is the list of companies who have signed the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord:
Abercrombie & Fitch
Marks and Spencer
El Corte Inglés
Richard Elliott, UNI Global Union, Mobile: +41 79 794 9709, email@example.com
Tom Grinter, IndustriALL, Mobile: +41 79 693 44 99, TGrinter@industriALL-Union.org