Workers’ rights campaigners urge more brands to sign up to the International Accord for Safety and Health in the Textile and Garment Industry while marking the 10th anniversary of Bangladesh’s deadliest factory fire.
So far, more than 180 brands have signed up to the accord which was established in September 2021 to make global fashion companies legally responsible for the safety of the supply chain workers who make their clothes.
Ten years ago today, at least 112 garment workers were killed, many of them because they were unable to escape locked exits and barred windows in a blaze at the Tazreen Fashions factory on the outskirts of Dhaka.
The tragedy came six months before the Rana Plaza disaster, in which 1,134 people died, which led to the creation of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh which brands signed to take responsibility for garment worker safety.
The International Accord was established to continue this legal liability after the original Bangladesh Accord was succeeded by the tripartite Readymade Sustainability Council (RSC) which represents factory owners, brands and trade unions.
Workers’ rights campaigners are marking the anniversary of the fire by highlighting that major brands which sourced from Tazreen Fashions – including Walmart, Sears and Disney – have not yet signed up to the International Accord.
The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Femnet, supported by a range of Bangladeshi unions, have also sent a letter to brands that fall under the German supply chain law, which takes effect from 1st January, including German brands Tom Tailor and Deichmann, Swedish-owned furniture giant IKEA, and Amazon.
The letter warns that even if companies fail to sign up to the International Accord, they could still face legal action under the law for worker safety incidents in their global supply chains.