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Global retail brands join hands to sign Bangladesh Factory Safety Deal

By VJ Media Bureau | Vjmedia Works | May 16, 2013

The Accord (Agreement) is backed by IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union along with leading NGOs to grant workers the right to refuse dangerous work and endorse safe working environment to avert another Bangladesh Rana Plaza tragedy.

The world's leading retail labels commit to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh before the midnight deadline. The Accord now covers more than 1000 Bangladeshi garment factories. Leading global retail labels commit to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety Measure in the light of the Rana Plaza tragedy, the disaster which killed thousands of workers in the Bangladesh Saver Factory. IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union along with leading NGOs, Clean Clothes Campaign and Workers Rights Consortium have backed up this agreement which has major global household brands like Inditex and H&M on board. The Accord of Fire covers the binding programme of fire and building safety reforms based on independent inspections, worker-led health and safety committees and union access to factories, signatories commit to underwrite improvements in dangerous factories and properly confront fire safety and structural problems.

IndustriALL Global Union General Secretary, Jyrki Raina said, "The companies who signed up are to be applauded. H&M showed the way by being the first to sign this week. We will not close the door on brands who want to join the Accord after the deadline but we will be forging ahead with the implementation plan from today. Those who want to join later will not be in a position to influence decisions already made. The train moves on and these companies will drive the process - there can be no uncommitted passengers because the stakes are too high. We are talking improving the working conditions and lives of some of the most exploited workers in the world, earning $38 a month in dangerous conditions.”

UNI Global Union General Secretary, Philip Jennings said, "We made it! This accord is a turning point. We are putting in place rules that mark the end of the race to the bottom in the global supply chain.” Commenting on the no-shows Jennings said, "Walmart, the world's largest retailer, is out of step. By not signing up the Walmart brand sinks to a new low. Equally Gap's refusal to join is a mistake that shoppers will not forget. We will make progress without them.”

Companies that signed were 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.

IndustriALL is a Global Union which represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors and is a new force in global solidarity taking up the fight for better working conditions and trade union rights around the world. UNI represents workers in the cleaning & security; commerce; finance; gaming; graphical & packaging; hair & beauty; ICTS; media, entertainment & arts; post & logistics; social insurance; sport; temp & agency workers and tourism industries.
 
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