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Clothing brands support for accord on building safety in Bangladesh is a welcome step – Crowe

14 May, 2013 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, has welcomed the decision of several major clothing brands to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

Crowe raised the issue of fire and building safety in Bangladesh’s garment factories in the Dáil last week, in light of the two recent tragic incidents in Bangladeshi garment factories, which claimed the lives of over 1,100 workers.

Deputy Crowe said:

“I welcome the decision of Primark, H&M, Marks and Spencer’s, Tesco, and Inditex, which is the corporate owner of the Zara chain, and others to support and sign the Accord in Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh when it is published today. I am calling on all clothing brands with operations in Bangladesh to support this accord and sign it today.

“The accord, which was initiated by international unions and NGOs, is a binding program of fire safety reforms based on independent inspections, worker-led health and safety committees and union access to factories.

“The signatories also commit to underwrite improvements in dangerous factories and properly confront fire safety and structural problems, and the accord also importantly grants workers the right to refuse dangerous work or work in unsafe conditions.

“The Rana Plaza building collapse on April 24, which claimed over 1,100 lives, and the separate factory fire which killed 8 workers last Thursday, appalled people the world over.

“While it is important the Bangladeshi Government’s instigates reforms to improve the working conditions and rights of workers in the country, there also needs to be action from the private sector, but self-regulation wasn’t working.

“When I spoke on the issue in the Dáil last week, I drew a comparison with the Stardust tragedy in Dublin. This tragic event showed that self-regulation doesn’t work and that there is a critical need for strong regulation and a pro-active safety regime, to improve the fire and safety of buildings.

“In the Irish Government’s new development policy paper for Irish Aid they gave a strong commitment to ensure they would work toward the fulfilment of human rights, including promoting decent work, around the world. It also contained a commitment to work with Irish companies to help promote good development and human rights practice.

“The government must stick to this important commitment. Decent work and workers’ rights are a key element in improving people’s health, reducing inequality, and instigating development and building a fairer society.”


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