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Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance) is a legally binding, five-year commitment to improve safety in Bangladeshi ready-made garment (RMG) factories. The Alliance was organized in 2013 through the Bipartisan Policy Center with discussions convened and chaired by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME) and former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), both of whom have a strong track record of forging consensus-oriented solutions. The collaborative process involved apparel industry companies and stakeholders including: the U.S. and Bangladeshi governments, policymakers, NGOs, members of civil society, and organized labor. For more about Alliance, read here.

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Article
23 April 2016

Only 31 RMG factories fully remediated 3 years after Rana Plaza disaster

Author: Ibrahim Hossain Ovi, Tribune [Dhaka]

Three years after the Rana Plaza disaster, only 31 RMG factories have fully completed the remediation process of improving safety and compliance as per international standards. According to the latest information, a total of 3,768 RMG units have been inspected by the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, and National Initiative. The remaining inspected factories are at different stages of repair works and improvements in safety – encompassing fire, electrical and structural safety – and compliance. Some have made significant progress and others are at the final stage, awaiting approval from the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE). Of the 31 factories that completed remediation works, 24 manufacture products for Alliance signatory brands and 7 for Accords signatory brands.

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Article
21 April 2016

ANALYSIS - Three years after Rana Plaza disaster, has anything changed?

Author: Rina Chandran, Thompson Reuters Foundation

Three years after the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 factory workers, the rights and safety of workers are in greater focus, but progress in fixing problems in the supply chain is slow, experts and activists say...More than 40 defendants face charges over the disaster, but about 24 of the accused have absconded..The disaster led to the creation of two international coalitions designed to assess and help fund improvements to building and fire safety at thousands of garment factories in Bangladesh...But nearly three years on, about 70 percent of those plans are behind schedule, according to data on its website..."While compensation for victims became a priority after the disaster, the perennial problems of safety, health and prevention still need to be addressed," said Gopinath Parakuni, general-secretary of non-profit Cividep India...Every factory is still a tinder box, and effective ways to ensure day-to-day safety are still not in place," he said...As well as companies and governments, consumers are getting involved in the campaign for greater supply-chain transparency.

 

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Article
21 April 2016

Summary: Rana Plaza Three Years On: Compensation, Justice and Workers' Safety

Author: Clean Clothes Campaign

In total, the Rana Plaza Arrangement paid out BDT 1,421,273,046.31 (almost 13 million GPB/16 million EURO/USD 18.5 million), from the money collected by the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund...Of the 41 individuals facing criminal charges only two, Sohel Rana and an inspector from Rajuk (Civil Development Agency), are held in custody. Of the remaining 39 at least half have yet to surrender to the court; this includes the Spanish owner of the Phantom Tac factory. ..Overall, the pace of repairs has been much slower than anticipated...The lack of transparent rules and guidelines for the assessing of union applications leaves room for undue influence over the process by employers who have considerable local power.  

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Article
20 April 2016

Bangladesh: Garment Workers’ Union Rights Bleak

Author: Human Rights Watch

Garment workers face daunting challenges to unionization, and remain at risk of interference and threats by factories three years after the Rana Plaza building collapse, Human Rights Watch said today. The Bangladesh government should urgently remove legal and practical obstacles to unionization...“Let’s remember that none of the factories operating in Rana Plaza had trade unions,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “If their workers had more of a voice, they might have been able to resist managers who ordered them to work in the doomed building a day after large cracks appeared in it.”

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Article
20 April 2016

Protecting and Empowering Bangladesh’s Garment Workers - Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety Progress Report, Apr 2016

Author: Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety

As of March 2016, 49.5 percent of all required factory repairs have been completed...According to Bangladesh Fire Service & Civil Defence, the number of res in RMG factories fell by almost 90 percent between 2012 and 2015. There were 250 garment factory res in Bangladesh in 2012—an average of ve res per week—taking the lives of 115 people. Last year, there were just 30 such res, none of which resulted in death. 

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Article
19 April 2016

Why Boycotting Brands Won't Help Garment Workers

Author: Jenny Holdcroft, IndustriALL Global Union in Huffington Post

As we wonder #whomademyclothes - attention turns to the millions of garment workers, surviving on poverty wages, who make the clothes we wear...But what can we do to help these workers - 80% of whom are women?..Certainly not to only buy vintage or second hand - as two fashionistas recently proposed on a BBC radio 4 program. Garment workers desperately need to keep their jobs, so boycotting brands is not the way forward. They want to work. In many countries the garment industry is one of the few avenues to financial independence for women. What they don't want are poverty wages, excessive working hours and unsafe factories.

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