New Bangladesh Accord will Protect Workers and Improve Bangladesh’s Garment Industry

The ITUC has welcomed the signing of the new Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, as a further step towards protection of workers and a means to improve Bangladesh’s garment industry, which has suffered massive reputational damage over the 2013 Rana Plaza factory building collapse that killed 1,100 workers.

The new Accord, which will come into effect at the expiry of the current Bangladesh Accord in May 2018, includes Global Union Federations IndustriALL and UNI Global Union and leading fashion brands. It includes enhanced protections for workers displaced due to Accord requirements and recognizes the importance that freedom of association plays in improving conditions.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said “this new Accord underlines the successes already achieved under the existing 2013 Accord, and will provide vital protections for workers who, while producing vast export wealth for Bangladesh, are at risk of workplace injury and death. Local factory owners are putting pressure on the Government of Bangladesh to turn back the clock to the days of Rana Plaza, and we urge the government to give its full support to the tens of thousands of workers who produce that wealth, by backing the new Accord.”

The magnitude of the garment industry safety problem in Bangladesh was underlined by the tragic deaths of 11 workers and injury to more than 50 others in a 3 July boiler explosion near the capital Dhaka. Trade union signatories to the Accord are demanding that its scope be extended to cover boilers as well as the existing check-list, to avoid further such incidents