International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry 

Fire and building safety disasters have killed thousands of garment workers. The worst disaster in history was the 2013 Rana Plaza factory building collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed 1,138 workers and injured a further 2,500.

These disasters are preventable. Workers had been calling for better safety protections for many years, and the Rana Plaza disaster provided a critical turning point that led to the development of the groundbreaking Bangladesh Accord (Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh), which has delivered critical safety gains for millions of garment workers.

The International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry commenced on 1 September 2021 and is the successor agreement to the Bangladesh Accord. The International Accord is vital in ensuring workers’ safety gains are maintained and progressed.

Over 170 international brands have signed-on, including many well-known Australian brands. We’re calling on all brands that produce in Bangladesh to stand up for worker safety by signing on to the International Accord today!

Two Aussie brands are lagging behind. Can you help push these brands in the right direction?

 

Take Action: Demand these brands sign on!

Best & Less and The Iconic have not signed onto the International Accord! You can take action and urge them to commit to the safety of the women who make their clothes. All you have to do is:

1. Copy the following post:

Hi [insert brand name], I noticed you have not signed onto the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry. I am concerned that the women who make your clothes continue to work in unsafe conditions. Will you make a public commitment to sign onto the Accord along with over 170 brands who have already? #SheWearstheCost

2. Click on the brand’s logo, it will direct you to their Facebook channel.

3. Paste the post and share it onto their profile!

More Information 

What was the 2013 Bangladesh Accord and why was it important?     

Bangladesh is home to the third largest garment industry in the world. The sector employs over four million people, with approximately women making up 80% of workers. 

The 2013 Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was an historic, five-year agreement between brands and trade unions to work towards a safe and healthy garment and textile industry in Bangladesh. It catalysed a new approach to building safety across the industry, placing legally binding obligations on international brands and factories to protect worker safety.  

The 2018 Transition Accord extended the agreement for an additional three years. 

Over 200 brands and retailers signed on, including 13 from Australia. Both the 2013 Accord and the 2018 Transition Accord have been pivotal in ensuring the safety of garment workers, saving countless lives. Inspections uncovered over 130,000 safety violations, from structural damage to unsafe fire escape routes. A large majority of these safety hazards have since been eliminated.

What is the new International Accord and how does it protect workers’ rights?  

With the Bangladesh Accord expiring on 21 August 2021, garment workers, international brands, and factory managers came together to develop a new agreement to ensure disasters like Rana Plaza didn’t happen again.  

The International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry was released on 1 September 2021. Over 170 brands and retailers have signed on, including many well-known Australian brands.  

The International Accord uniquely protects worker safety through:  

  • Legal enforceability of brands’ commitments, with complaint and enforcement mechanisms (rather than voluntary measures which have proven not to be effective);   
  • Independent oversight of brand compliance;  
  • Obligation to pay prices to suppliers sufficient to support safe workplaces; and   
  • Obligations to cease doing business with any factory that refuses to operate safely.

It has additional safety measures beyond fire and building safety, for the general health and safety of workers. The International Accord will also expand its coverage beyond Bangladesh at some point, to at least one other country.  

 

Disclaimer: ActionAid Australia does not endorse or have any affiliation with the featured companies. ActionAid Australia acknowledges that the copyright in the logos featured is the property of these companies

Ensuring safe workplaces for garment workers in Bangladesh

Fast fashion has a high price for the garment workers making our clothes. Behind the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry, garment workers risk illness, injury and even their lives working in unsafe factories.