With 100 days to go till the current Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety expires, garment companies were asked to continue to ensure a safe and sustainable garment industry in Bangladesh and sign the next 2018 Transition Accord. The 2018 Transition Accord will continue the work of inspecting factories in Bangladesh, identifying safety hazards and ensuring that they are resolved. Currently, 109 garment companies have signed the 2018 Accord, covering over 2 million workers.
Many garment companies have still to reconfirm their commitment to safety of Bangladeshi workers in their supply chain. Among the companies that are delaying are: Marks and Spencer, Next, Sainsbury’s, Metro Group, Abercrombie & Fitch and Dansk Supermarked.
The global union signatories to the Accord, IndustriALL and UNI, and the four witness signatories, Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network and Worker Rights Consortium, requested garment companies that have not yet signed the 2018 Accord to do so.
Not signing the 2018 Accord means workers will be left in unmonitored factories and consequently, garment brands will fall short on their due diligence obligations to keep the workers in their supply chain safe. Christy Hoffman, Deputy General Secretary, UNI global union says the need for safety committees and inspection programme is on-going because a factory can be safe one day, and then the fire doors are blocked the next. As long as the Bangladeshi government is not yet ready to assume this responsibility, the Accord will continue to provide the training, engineering expertise, and accountability structures necessary to make garment work safer.