On Wednesday 24th April thousands of workers went to work at one of their garment factories located above the Rana Plaza shopping centre in Savar, Dhaka. They had been told to return to work despite noticing large cracks appearing the building only the day before. Over 1100 of these workers were killed and over a thousand injured when that same day the building came crashing down, trapping them under tons of rubble and machinery.
The dead and injured workers in the Rana Plaza tragedy were producing garments for North American and European high street brands when their factories collapsed. A number of brands have already acknowledged production with these factories including Primark (UK/Ireland), Bon Marche (UK), Joe Fresh (Loblaws, Canada), El Corte Ingles (Spain) and Mango (Spain). Benetton labels were also found among the remains of the factory. More are still being identified.
This tragedy has devastated the lives of thousands of families. The injuries suffered by many of these workers are horrific and will require both immediate and long-term medical care.Brands must take immediate action to make sure emergency relief is in place and compensation is paid.
But we need more action to prevent future incidents. Since the Spectrum factory collapse in 2005, building and fire safety concerns have been repeatedly highlighted to brands buying from Bangladesh. Brands can no longer dodge responsibility for their lack of action to prevent these tragedies from happening. There is no way to justify any more delay in signing the binding Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement.
Since 112 workers were killed in the Tazreen fire brands have made weak and insufficient proposals to address building and fire safety including safety films (H&M), a safety academy (WalMart) and their own initiatives. How much safety does a film provide when buildings collapse or emergency exits do not exist? Workers need a structural solution to stop these unsafe working conditions from existing. Brands need to prevent anymore unnecessary factory worker deaths. Signing the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement and working with trade unions in Bangladesh is the first, essential step.
This agreement, which was designed by Bangladesh and international unions with other labour groups, will mean fewer factory deathtraps. The Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement means independent building inspections, worker rights training, public disclosure and a long-overdue review of safety standards. It is transparent as well as practical, and unique in being supported by all key labour rights stakeholders in Bangladesh and internationally.
Amidst the tragic news of the collapse, we also have incredibly good news: WE WON! After two years of shirking its responsibilities to the former PT Kizone workers in Indonesia and claiming that paying severance “would basically conflict with our long-held policy on relief aid to workers,” Adidas has capitulated to the workers’ demands and agreed to compensate them, marking the first time the brand has directly taken direct responsibility for its subcontracted workers.
The success of this campaign shows the power of worker solidarity and indicates what international consumer pressure can achieve. This case sets a precedent, and is the first time that Adidas has paid severance to workers.
Thank you all for making this happen, we are incredibly proud!
Clean Clothes Campaign
siehe auch: FAIRVOLUTION – jetzt!