Walmart and Gap Advance Toothless Unilateral Version of Bangladesh Safety Accord

                                                                                                                                                        IndustriALL Global Union
Bangladesh workers

July 10, 2013

Global Unions IndustriALL and UNI, reacting to the announcement by Walmart and Gap today of another toothless corporate auditing programme for Bangladesh factory safety, stated that these companies are only repeating the mistakes of the past.

The Walmart/Gap initiative falls short of the standard set by the binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. The Accord is an enforceable building safety programme backed by more than seventy global brands from 15 countries. Unlike the Accord, the Walmart/Gap initiative is unclear on enforceability and there is no commitment from the brands to stay in Bangladesh, nor is there full transparency.
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Implementation of Bangladesh Safety Accord Advances

                                                                                                                                                        IndustriALL Global Union
Bangladesh workers

The broad coalition of trade unions – led by IndustriALL and UNI – and 70 market leading clothing brands and retailers today announces the next steps to implement the historic Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

 The signatories to the Accord, IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and the over 70 clothing brands and retailers, set themselves a 45 day period to draw up and agree on the implementation plan and 8 July is the deadline. The Accord represents a new era of collaboration and sincere efforts to make the Bangladeshi garment industry safe and sustainable through comprehensive inspections, repairs of factories, training and involvement of workers.

All parties to the five-year binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh are enthused by this milestone and the real work on the ground will begin soon. Continue reading

Terrorists? Arrest ‘Em (Unless They’re Walmart)

Workers wrapped in mock shrouds protested in San Francisco, decrying horrific inattention to safety by retailers like GAP and Walmart. Since 2006, close to 1,000 garment workers in Bangladesh have died in factory disasters at the retailers’ suppliers. Photo: Marc Norton.

by Marc Norton

When terrorist bombers killed three people in Boston on April 15, the FBI moved heaven and earth to find and apprehend those responsible. When Walmart’s suppliers in Bangladesh killed over 380 people, at last count, in one of their garment factory death traps on April 24, the FBI sat on their hands, despite the fact that those responsible  Walmart’s Board of Directors  are well known and could be easily apprehended.

Walmart ranges the globe searching for cheap labor for its goods, leaving death and destruction in its wake. What is the difference between Walmart’s actions and terrorists planting bombs? Both sets of criminals know that they will create carnage among the innocent. Is the murderous search for profit at any cost less criminal than placing a bomb?

Continue reading