A broad coalition of trade unions - led by IndustriALL & UNI - and 70 market leading clothing brands & retailers today announces next steps for historic Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

Download a PDF of the Accord here.

The signatories to the Accord, IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and the over 70 clothing brands and retailers, set themselves a 45 day period to draw up and agree on the next implementation steps and 8 July is the deadline. The Accord represents a new era of collaboration and sincere efforts to make the Bangladeshi garment industry safe and sustainable through comprehensive inspections, repairs of factories, training and involvement of workers.
All parties to the five-year binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh are enthused by this milestone and the real work on the ground will begin soon.Key highlights of the implementation plan include:

  • Initial inspections – To identify grave hazards and the need for urgent repairs. This will be completed within 9 months.
  • An Interim Procedure to take effect when existing inspection processes or worker reports identify factories which require immediate remediation measures.
  • Hiring process commenced for the Chief Safety Inspector and Executive Director positions.
  • Governance structure established through a Steering Committee with equal representation of signatory companies and unions and an Advisory Board with broad representation in Bangladesh.

The Accord will cover all factories producing for the signatory brands, opening them all up for safety inspections and further measures depending on the factory’s significance to the brand. Signatory brands and retailers guarantee that in every case where an unsafe factory is found funds will be available for the necessary safety upgrades.

The Accord will be governed by the Steering Committee with equal representation of labour and company members. The Steering Committee will be empowered to take decisions to resolve disputes, with the arbitration to be enforceable in a court of law in the company’s home country. The selection of the Arbitrator in this process will be governed by the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration 1985. All action of the Accord will be transparent and publically reported.

IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina stated:

"This historic, legally binding Accord will effect tangible change on the ground and help make the Bangladeshi garment industry safe and sustainable. Voluntary initiatives have proved insufficient, as 1,800 Bangladeshi garment workers have died in factory fires and building collapses during the past seven years. A profound change is possible only with a strong coalition between trade unions, international brands and retailers, Bangladeshi authorities and employers, and with worker involvement in the workplace with guaranteed freedom of association."

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings commented:

“Now the real work starts. The terms of reference and the rules of the Accord are set in place, we can now identify the best people and put together the team in Bangladesh who will be charged with carrying out this vital work. These are exciting moments. The world is watching.”

The International Labour Organization (ILO) acts as an independent chair to enhance the Accord’s implementation. The labour NGOs Clean Clothes Campaign and the Worker’s Rights Consortium played an important role in supporting the Accord and will continue to do so throughout its five year duration.

Of fundamental importance to the Accord is that it includes a central role for workers and their representatives. Another central aspect of the Accord is that it commits signatory companies to staying in Bangladesh for at least the first two years of the Accord. The signatory companies to the Accord are making serious and sincere commitments to working with trade unions to clean up their production chain in Bangladesh. They can all be held up as standard-setters in the industry.

The full list of company signatories to the Accord (as of 7/8/13):

  1. Abercrombie & Fitch
  2. Aldi Nord
  3. Aldi South
  4. Auchan
  5. Belotex
  6. Benetton
  7. Bestseller
  8. Bonmarche
  9. C&A
  10. Camaieu
  11. Carrefour
  12. Charles Voegele
  13. Chicca
  14. Comtex
  15. Coop Danmark
  16. Cotton On
  17. Dansk
  18. Daytex
  19. Debenham
  20. Distra
  21. DK Company
  22. El Corte Ingles
  23. Ernstings's Family
  24. Esprit
  25. Fat Face
  26. Forever New
  27. Gstar
  28. H&M
  29. Helly Hansen
  30. Hema
  31. Hemtex AB
  32. Herding Heimtextil
  33. Hess Natur-Textilien GmbH
  34. Horizonte
  35. Inditex
  36. JBC
  37. Jogilo
  38. John Lewis
  39. Juritex
  40. KappAhl
  41. Karstadt
  42. Kik
  43. Kmart (Australia)
  45. Leclerc
  46. Lidl
  47. Loblaw
  48. Mango
  49. Marks and Spencer
  50. Metro
  51. Mothercare
  52. Multiline
  53. N Brown
  54. New Look
  55. Next
  56. Otto Group
  57. Primark
  58. PUMA
  59. PVH
  60. Rewe
  61. S Olivier
  62. Sainsbury
  63. Schmidt Group
  64. Scoop NYC / Zac Posen
  65. Sean John Apparel
  66. Shop Direct Group
  67. Stockmann
  68. Switcher
  69. Target (Australia)
  70. Tchibo
  71. Tesco
  72. Texman
  73. Topgrade International
  74. V&D
  75. Van der Erve NV
  76. Varner Group
  77. Voice Norge AS
  78. We Europe
  79. Zeeman