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Usdaw urges retailers to re-sign the Bangladesh Accord

Date: 16 August 2021 In April 2013, the Rana Plaza factory in Dhaka collapsed killing over 1,100 workers, making it one of the world’s worst industrial accidents in the garment sector.
The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety (the Accord) was established to ensure Rana Plaza never happened again. It was a landmark agreement that ensured global fashion brands acknowledged direct responsibility for factory conditions by addressing buildings and fire safety. This led to improved safety in 1,600 garment factories employing more the two million people.

The Accord in its current, legally binding, form is due to end on 31 August 2021 and there is a risk that brands will return to voluntary agreements with a watered-down version of the original agreement.

Usdaw is supporting calls for the Accord to be extended and improved so it is: legally binding and enforceable; overseen by an independent body, international so that factories cannot avoid their safety responsibilities by relocating and has meaningful representation of workers and trade unions.

Usdaw General Secretary Paddy Lillis said: “The Accord was drafted in response to the terrible tragedy at Rana Plaza in 2013. At the time we all said, ‘never again’ and due to immense international pressure, many brands signed up to the Accord.

“Now that the Accord is coming to an end, we are hearing reports that brands are pushing for a voluntary watered-down version. This is completely unacceptable. The health and safety of workers in any country must be paramount.

“Voluntary initiatives simply aren’t enough to protect workers. It is essential that British companies sign up to the legally binding Accord and show consumers that they are not merely paying lip service to their ethical pledges."

Note for Editors

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 380,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.

For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers