The TUC has today (Thursday) welcomed the decision by retailer Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) – which also owns the high street chains Peacocks and Jane Norman – to sign the union-backed Bangladesh fire and building safety accord.
The move comes almost a year on from the Tazreen Fashions factory fire in Dhaka which killed more than a hundred workers and seriously injured many more.
The EWM signing of the legally-enforceable agreement, which aims to improve safety in the country’s textiles factories, follows a long-running TUC campaign. It means that all but a handful of names on the UK high street have now committed to improving working conditions and safety in their Bangladesh supply chains.
Commenting on the signing TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s decision is good news for workers in Bangladesh, good news for UK shoppers – who now know one more British retailer has done the right thing – and good news for the company itself.
“This shows that campaigning pays off and that companies and brands listen to consumers who are worried about how the clothes they buy are made. It shows too that unions can make a difference anywhere in the world, and that better lives for working people are possible – even in countries like Bangladesh where poverty pay and government corruption are endemic.”
Edinburgh Woollen Mill joins 114 other corporate signatories of the accord from 19 countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
All the 115 companies are now committed to making garment factories in Bangladesh safe places to work. This includes the use of independent safety inspections (the results of which will now have to be publicly reported), meeting the cost of any remedial work, and guaranteeing workers’ wages while the works are carried out.
Whilst welcoming EWM’s decision to sign, the TUC would still like to see the company pay compensation to the victims of the Tazreen Fashions factory fire and their families.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The accord has its own website at http://www.bangladeshaccord.org/ listing all the current signatories, setting out the full terms of the accord and showing how it will be implemented
- The TUC’s campaign plan can be downloaded from www.tuc.org.uk/campaignplan
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews
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