June 06, 2017
The Human Thread is delighted that the first 13 global companies (with many more pending and expected) and two global unions have agreed on a 2nd Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. The new agreement will enter into effect when the current Accord expires in May 2018. The Accord is an unprecedented, legally binding agreement between companies and trade unions to make factories in Bangladesh safe. While much remains to be done, the original Accord has been an important vehicle for improving workplace safety.
The original Accord was signed in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza disaster and would last five years.
In addition to the brands and the two unions, the agreement also has four non-governmental labor rights organizations as “witness signatories.” Sarah Newell, Campaigns Associate at the International Labor Rights Forum, one of the witness signatory organizations, said:
The renewal of the Accord is based on clear evidence that this model, where companies take active responsibility for the safety and rights of workers in their supply chains, works. As we saw with the first Accord, it will take consumer pressure for brands and retailers to commit to making these changes. If as much progress is to be made in the next four years as in the past four, it’ll take conscientious consumers supporting workers by urging brands who source clothing from Bangladesh to sign onto the new Accord and follow through on their commitments.
Here at The Human Thread, we agree Ms. Newell, and we want to underscore the importance of “conscientious consumers” in advancing worker safety, rights, and wages.
For more information, Reuters covered the new Accord here. A press release from the Accord is here. The full text of the agreement is available here. ILRF’s statement on the renewal is found here. The four witness signatories’ statement is found here. The statement from ICCR is available here.