Witness signatories welcome extension of Accord; call on brands to sign new agreement

A relative holds a picture of a missing garment worker who was working in the Rana Plaza building when it collapsed (Photo: Clean Clothes Campaign)

In a joint statement, the witness signatories to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh welcome the agreement between brands and unions to extend the life of the Accord for three additional months but reiterate their call on signatory brands to sign a new a new legally-binding safety agreement. The transition accord was scheduled to expire on May 31.

The witness signatories – Clean Clothes Campaign, Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network, Worker Rights Consortium – are calling on brands to sign a new agreement that ensures brands are held to account for necessary safety improvements in their Bangladeshi supplier factories; remains individually enforceable for each signatory brand; keeps an independent secretariat in place that oversees brand compliance; and allows for expansion of the agreement to other countries.

“Without such an agreement, brands’ efforts in Bangladesh will amount to no more than the kind of self-monitoring practices that failed to prevent the Rana Plaza building collapse,” says the joint statement.

Although the brand association that has been negotiating with the global and local unions had proposed a watered-down version of the Accord that would have eliminated legal accountability for individual companies, several brands have reached out to the unions or published public statements indicating they will support a new agreement with the crucial elements proposed by the unions. These include Asos, Tchibo, Esprit, Zeeman, G-Star, KiK, and Country Road.

  • Read the joint statement here.
  • Read the witness signatories’ report Unfinished Business: Outstanding safety hazards at garment factories here.
  • Read more about the need for a new agreement and take action here.