In April 2013 1,100 garment workers died when a nine-storey factory complex collapsed in Bangladesh. These deaths exposed the appalling working conditions in which millions of people sew clothing destined for our high streets – conditions which this project is working to address.
This exploitation is usually hidden from view but the scale of this tragedy was so great, that it has provoked a global debate about the conditions our clothes are made in. Over one million people signed petitions calling on brands sourcing from Bangladesh to sign the legally-binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. The Accord enshrines independent building inspections, public disclosures of audit results, mandatory building repairs, the commitment by companies to pay for repairs necessary to make buildings safe and union access to factories to educate workers on their rights, including the right to refuse unsafe work.
By May 16th 2013, many of the world’s leading retail labels committed to signing the Accord covering more than 1000 Bangladeshi factories. Retailers signing up (by May 16th) include 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 and N Brown.
However, some major brands including Gap and Walmart have not yet signed the Accord and with your support, TRAID partners including War on Want, the NGWF, Labour Behind the Label and many more will continue to apply pressure to retailers to improve conditions for garment workers in all countries in which they source clothing.