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Bangladesh: Tchibo becomes second Accord signatory brand to commit to new legally binding agreement on garment worker safety

“Unions withdraw from RSC and call for a new binding agreement”, 12 May 2021

With today’s developments, we would like to let you know that we agree to sign a 1-year extension agreement to the current Transition Accord which reconfirms current commitments under the Accord and to the RSC and adds an element of expansion to other countries. We also welcome if the Secretariat starts the preparation for other countries as otherwise highly qualified expertise is not used.

[…]

The horrible incident of Rana Plaza … put a human face, albeit full of suffering, onto the garment industry and took away the anonymity of supply chains for the whole world. The Bangladesh Accord was a unique response because it created a binding framework for the business parties for the first time at a global level, jointly locking us into a collective path and taking worker safety out of competition. The Accord demonstrated that it was possible to collaborate at the level of employer and employee representatives and brands and retailers. It was - for the first time - truly inclusive to the legitimate representatives of workers creating the much-needed balance of power…

[…]

We are writing this letter to you in favor of today’s union proposal as a reminder that the design of the Agreement has repercussions beyond the question of the Accord and Bangladesh. It represents our global commitment as a business community to the global garment industry. The upcoming decisions will be a testimony to whether we as businesses are willing to continue our inclusive path. Inclusiveness must include the legitimate representatives of workers and reflect their wishes in a balance of interests. It will also demonstrate whether we as businesses are willing to walk our talk and voluntarily curtail our power to collaborate under legally binding principles to benefit the people in our supply chains. There has been so much industry pushback at national levels in Europe concerning due diligence regulation, under the premise that businesses could move the needle through voluntary initiatives. The decisions we take now related to the Accord is the test, whether this premise is true. Bangladesh is also only one country in the equation. We need to tackle more in terms of Safety (which would give Bangladesh an equal level playing field).

[Full statement attached]

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