Dhaka, Bangladesh – February 16, 2016 – A new report slams the government of Bangladesh for failing to comply with agreements made after the Rana Plaza tragedy to ensure workplace safety and the right of workers to form unions without reprisal.
The evaluation report, released by Uni Global Union, IndustriALL Global Union and the International Trade Union Confederation concluded that the Bangladesh government has failed to comply with the Sustainability Compact – an agreement between Bangladesh and the European Union (EU), Canada, the United States, as well as trade unions and other organizations. The agreement was signed in the wake of the collapse of a Bangladesh garment factory at Rana Plaza, where more than 1,100 garment workers were killed in April 2013. The Sustainability Compact agreement called for improvements to workplace safety backed up by worker unions and collective agreements.
But the new evaluation report found that since the compact was signed, there have been over 100 cases of anti-union reprisals in factories and delays by the government to certify additional bargaining units.
"Any gains made regarding safety and other working conditions won`t be sustained unless workers have the right to form unions, without retaliation, in order to hold employers accountable," says UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema. "The stalling by Bangladesh to certify unions is shocking and dangerous when you consider four million workers are employed in the garment industry. This, and misconduct by the manufacturers must stop if another tragedy like Rana Plaza is to be prevented.”
Following the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy, many retailers, including Loblaws Companies, signed onto the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety, which uses independent, third-party inspectors in order to improve conditions for workers in the developing nation. Since its establishment, more than 1,000 factories have been inspected for safety concerns. The Sustainability Compact is a separate agreement to ensure that safety standards and monitoring remain secured through collaboration between workers, their trade unions, factory owners, sourcing companies, and government agencies.
Take action today to urge Prime Minister Trudeau to call on the government of Bangladesh to honour the Sustainability Compact to ensure safe working conditions and labour rights for workers in Bangladesh.