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Bangladesh Safety Accord. Briefing by Judy Gearhart Executive Director, ILRF June 4, 2013. How Accord was achieved…. Global labor advocate networks l inking brands/retailers to factories in recent disasters

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Bangladesh Safety Accord

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bangladesh safety accord

Bangladesh Safety Accord

Briefing by

Judy Gearhart

Executive Director, ILRF

June 4, 2013

how accord was achieved
How Accord was achieved…
  • Global labor advocate networks linking brands/retailers to factories in recent disasters
  • Focusing attention on individual brand responsibility, failure of industry CSR programs, small cost of saving lives
  • Broad support – Bangladesh unions, US and European unions, NGOs, online campaigners, student activists
  • Key players: NGOs and unions in Bangladesh, Europe, US and Canada
the accord unprecedented commitments
The Accord: Unprecedented Commitments
  • Thorough, independent inspections with full public reports
  • Brands/retailers must require factories to undergo all necessary renovations and help with financing
  • Brands/retailers must cease business with any factory that refuses (*through a guided process)
  • Brands/retailers must make 2-year commitment to safe factories
  • Central role for workers and unions: union access, OHS committees, right to refuse dangerous work
  • All commitments binding and enforceable


Implementation plan in 45 days

Brands/Unions/NGOs convened in Geneva on May 23

12-member planning committee focused on swift implementation

First priority: inspections and renovations to mitigate most serious widespread hazards

signatory brands and retailers

Signatory Brands and Retailers

41 signatory companies, from 13 countries

H&M – largest producer in Bangladesh

Inditex – world’s largest fashion retailer

Carrefour – world’s 2nd largest general retailer

Most major apparel retailers in W. Europe

North America: PVH/A&F/Loblaw/ENYCE

Signatories represent:

At least 1,500 factories and 1 million workers


Gap, VF, Walmart, Target, JC Penney, Macy’s, Kohl’s

conceptually four parts to program
Conceptually: Four Parts to Program:
  • Agreements on the Structure of the Program
  • Rigorous Inspections and Remediation
  • Worker Involvement and Transparency:
  • Supplier Incentives
  • Dispute Resolution (para 5):
    • Steering Committee reviews and decides disputes within 21 days of the petition;
    • Appeals to that decision then move to an arbitration process, which is to be enforceable in a court of law of the domicile of the signatory company
  • Administration and management: to be developed by the Steering Committee (SC will have 3 company and 3 union signatories) in consultation with: High-Level Tripartite Committee of National Action Plan, MOLE, ILO and GIZ.
financial support
Financial Support
  • Brands fund SC, and work of the Safety Inspector and Training Coordinator and their teams.
  • Brands fund proportional to their production in Bangladesh up to a max contribution per company per year being $500,000 for the 5 years (para 24).
credible inspections
Credible Inspections:
  • Inspections done according to rigorous standards
  • Required public reporting of inspection findings and remediation plan;
  • Sharing of factory lists and volume data with the Safety Inspector (confidentially) so they can designate suppliers according to its Tier
  • Factories to implement corrective actions on schedule
  • Factories maintain workers’ employment relationship and regular income for up to 6 months in case the factory has to close for renovations; failure to do so may result in termination of contracts.
  • Brands make reasonable effort to ensure workers who lose employment due to loss of orders or shut down of a factory are offered employment or supported in their placement at a safe factory.
  • Factories ensure workers can refuse work if he/she has reasonable justification it is unsafe without recrimination
  • Require factories provide access to training teams to deliver training including the involvement of trade unions and local experts.
  • All suppliers must have functioning health and safety committees set up according to law and made up of 50% workers chosen by factory union or democratic election
  • Safety Inspector establishes worker complaint process, connected to NAP hotline.
  • [Note: consider how to set up community based support for workers’ complaints and concerns]
transparency and reporting
Transparency and Reporting
  • Public Reports on Factory Compliance and Remediation:
    • Written inspection reports within 2 weeks for: factory managers, OSH committee, worker reps and SC
    • Inspection report and factory remediation plan public in 6 weeks.
  • Aggregated list of suppliers in program, indicating to which Tier they are designated
  • Quarterly aggregated reports summarizing industry compliance and review of findings.
  • A protocol will ensure participating factories are not penalized as a result of the transparency
threats and brand financing
Threats and Brand Financing:
  • Warning system for brands to threaten termination of business due to lack of participation
  • Brands negotiate commercial terms that ensure it is financially feasible for factories to maintain safe workplaces and/or use alternative means to ensure financial capacity to comply (e.g. loans, investments, direct funding, etc)
  • Brands maintain order volumes with Tier 1 and 2 factories for at least first two years of this program, provided it’s commercially viable to do so, and the factory continues to meet the company’s terms.