The factories in Bangladesh serve the big fashion chains around the world – but the safety of many seamstresses is not in good shape. A new agreement should now strengthen their labor rights. A German dealer has already signed.International fashion chains and trade unions have agreed on a new agreement on safety in textile factories in Bangladesh. The agreement comes into force on Wednesday and should apply for at least two years, according to a statement. It is a follow-up to an agreement on fire safety and building security that fashion chains and trade unions concluded after the collapse of a factory building in Rana Plaza eight years ago, killing more than 1,100 people, and which expires at the end of August.
Agreement is to be exported
The calamity showed the world the great problems in making clothes. Bangladesh is the largest producer hereafter China. According to the parties involved, the agreement called Accord achieved that more than 120,000 security risks were resolved in almost 1,600 factories. The new agreement was also legally binding, the message said. The focus is now also on health and safety as well as compliance with standards by the industry. The so-called Ready Made Garments Sustainability Council (RSC) is to take over control, which not only includes trade unions and fashion chains but also factory owners.The aim is to export the program to other countries, according to the international union Uni. Tomorrow it will be announced which fashion chains will participate. The previous agreement included Tchibo, Kik, Aldi, and H&M, among others.
Push for rapid implementation
Union officials in Bangladesh welcomed the new agreement. But now it is important that it is implemented accordingly, said Babul Akhter of the Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation of the DPA news agency. The Hamburg Otto Group said that the company had signed the agreement. “The new agreement is not only an important step to further strengthen the rights of employees, but also to preserve the progress already made in the field of building and fire protection”, emphasized Tobias Wollermann from the company’s corporate responsibility. He hopes that more companies will sign the agreement.