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26 Aug 2021

Lauren Cochrane, The Guardian

Bangladesh: Brands sign onto new enforceable agreement to protect health & safety in garment factories

"Fashion brands sign new deal on Bangladesh garment workers’ safety", 26 August 2021

Campaigners have hailed a new agreement designed to protect garment workers in Bangladesh, signed by the likes of H&M and Inditex, which owns Zara and Bershka.

The accord replaces another agreement signed by more than 200 international fashion companies after the Rana Plaza factory fire in 2013, in which more than 1,100 people died...

That agreement is due to expire at the end of August, and the negotiations for the new pact were protracted. Union leaders were concerned that the legally binding elements were being threatened and that improvements in conditions, wages and safety made since 2013 would be undermined, along with campaigns to improve safety in garment factories beyond Bangladesh...

The new agreement, which is managed by the Ready-Made Garments Sustainability Council (RSC), is valid until October 2023. Companies signing up commit to expanding general health and safety for workers beyond fire and building safety, human rights due diligence along supply chains, and making the same commitment to garment workers in at least one other country. Signatories have agreed to meet in six months’ time to discuss which countries, with the aim of making changes within two years...

The full list of companies signing on will be revealed on 1 September...

Part of the following timelines

Bangladesh: Signatories extend Accord by 3 months, under pressure to negotiate new legally binding agreement with unions to ensure worker safety

Campaigners and labour activists celebrate new Accord on health & safety in garment factories