Bangladesh: trade union deal on factory safety
On 15th May an agreement was reached committing retail companies to a binding programme of fire and building safety reforms based on independent inspections, worker-led health and safety committees and union access to factories. All signatories commit to underwrite improvements in dangerous factories and properly confront fire safety and structural problems.
The Accord grants workers the right to refuse dangerous work, in line with ILOConvention155 Occupational Safety and Health
These companies have signed:
H&M, Inditex, C&A, PVH, Tchibo, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Primark, El Corte Inglés, jbc, Mango, Carrefour, KiK, Helly Hansen, G-Star, Aldi, New Look, Mothercare, Loblaws, Sainsbury’s, Benetton, N Brown Group, Stockmann, WE Europe, Esprit, Rewe, Next, Lidl, Hess Natur, Switcher, A&F, Arcadia group (Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Bhs, Wallis, Evans) John Lewis
IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union, the Clean Clothes Campaign and Workers Rights Consortium have pushed forward with this agreement which covers more than 1,000 Bangladeshi garment factories.
Walmart – who own Asda – have refused to sign Guardian article: Walmart refuses to join.
Other UK retailers refusing to join are River Island, Matalan, Peacocks.
War on Want say:
“The Safety Accord is a landmark agreement, bringing together brands, supplier factories, trade unions and NGOs to end appalling unsafe factory conditions. The heart of the agreement is the commitment by companies to pay for the renovations and repairs necessary to make factory building in Bangladesh safe. The agreement is legally binding. It will save lives.”
Useful link: Labour behind the label: Where should I shop?
ILO C155 Article 13
“A worker who has removed himself from a work situation which he has reasonable justification to believe presents an imminent and serious danger to his life or health shall be protected from undue consequences in accordance with national conditions and practice.”