The Accord has been signed by many other Australian clothing brands including Just Jeans, Kmart, Big W and in recent months ‘THE ICONIC’ and Mosaic Brands – owner of Katies, Rivers and Millers.
The International Accord, an acclaimed safety agreement created in response to the Rana Plaza disaster, ensures safe workplaces for Bangladeshi garment workers.
Over the last 10 years, The Accord has conducted nearly 56,000 inspections across 2,400 garment factories in Bangladesh and identified 170,000 health and safety issues with 91% of those successfully remediated. The inspections The Accord undertakes, and subsequent safety repairs, are funded by brands which have signed up to it.
Best&Less have 20 factories in Bangladesh which makes up 25% of their global sourcing.
Tamazer Ahmed, Women’s Rights Manager at ActionAid Bangladesh, who supports garment workers to claim their labour rights, says it’s very disappointing Best&Less have not signed The Accord.
“It is very disappointing Best&Less have failed to put the safety of women garment workers ahead of company profit. Brands like Best&Less signing on to the International Accord is a vital step towards ensuring another Rana Plaza never happens,” says Tamazer Ahmed, Women’s Rights and Gender Equity Manager at ActionAid Bangladesh.
“The ready-made garment sector employs over two and a half million women and girls and represents 80% of Bangladesh’s exports yet these workers have historically worked incredibly long hours for little pay in often dangerous conditions.”
“While there have been major changes in fire safety and building safety since the Rana Plaza collapse, and some progress in raising the minimum wage and getting baseline maternity leave we can’t make further progress unless Australian brands like Best&Less get on board.”
Michelle Higelin, ActionAid Australia Executive Director, says Best&Less needs to put the safety of women garment workers before profit.
“Best&Less need to do the right thing and at the very least ensure the women making their products in Bangladesh have the most basic right to return home safely from work each day,” says Michelle Higelin.
“Best&Less have an ethical and corporate responsibility to financially contribute to safety improvements across factories in their supply chain. By refusing to sign The Accord, Best&Less are out of step with the rest of the industry.”
New research from ActionAid has revealed the continuing challenges faced by survivors of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Dhaka on the 24 April 2013.The study involving 200 survivors who were injured in the tragedy found:
- More than half (54.5 percent) of survivors are currently unemployed, with their physical health being the key reason for why they aren’t in paid work.
- More than one-third of survivors (36.8 percent) said they struggle with back pain, while a quarter (24.6 percent) said they suffered from headaches.
- Out of the 29 percent who said they were still traumatised from the event, more than half said they lived in fear because of their experience of building collapse.
Mousumi was working on the sixth floor of the Rana Plaza building on the day of the collapse and was badly injured after being trapped under the rubble.
“The horrible memories of those three hours under the rubble still haunt me. I feel the same fear the moment I enter or stand under a building. I constantly wonder if I will ever again have the courage to go to a building for work.”
On the 10th Anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse, ActionAid is calling on well-known Australian brand, Best&Less to sign onto the International Accord and put the safety of women garment workers before company profits.