Garment brands and global unions reach agreement on new, expanded worker safety pact

Negotiations between a representation of international textile retailers and the global trade union signatories to the former Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh have resulted in an agreement that continues legally-binding commitments to workplace safety in Bangladesh and promises to expand the program to other countries. The new agreement, called the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry, takes effect on 1 September 2021.

Like its predecessor agreement, this is a legally binding agreement between companies and trade unions to make Ready-Made Garment (RMG) and textile factories safe. The renewed agreement advances the fundamental elements that made the Accord successful, including: respect for freedom of association, independent administration and implementation, a high level of transparency, provisions to ensure remediation is financially feasible, Safety Committee training and worker awareness program, and a credible, independent complaints mechanism. In Bangladesh, the agreement is already implemented by the independent national tri-partite RMG Sustainability Council (“RSC”) consisting of brands, unions and industry.

Key new features of the International Accord include:

  • A commitment to focus on the health and safety program in Bangladesh, and on building a credible industry wide compliance and accountability mechanism
  • A commitment to expand the work of the International Accord based on feasibility studies
  • An option to expand the scope of the agreement to address human rights due diligence
  • An optional streamlined arbitration process to enforce the Accord’s terms

Starting today, the trade union signatories, IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union, will join along with leading brands into this new agreement. On 1 September, the Accord will announce the first wave of brands and retailers that have signed the agreement.

The Accord encourages all garment and textile companies to sign this agreement and join our collective goal of safe and sustainable RMG and related industries.

Download the full text of the International Accord here

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