"This is a turning point," UNI global union, the international trade union federation, said in geneva on thursday. "Implementation starts now." The agreement should better protect millions of workers in production facilities. The companies are thus responding to demands by the trade unions following the collapse of a factory building on 24. April near dhaka with more than 1100 dead.
The agreement for better labor protection, which has so far only applied to bangladesh, is to be extended to other countries at the request of trade unions. Labor representatives are determined to do this, also in view of the recent news about a roof collapse on a factory site in cambodia, the trade union umbrella organizations industriall and UNI global union said.
In cambodia, a roof collapsed on the land of a huge shoe factory on thursday. According to eyewitnesses, two people were killed in the incident. Seven were injured, two critically, said dave welsh of the u.S. Organization ACILS, which campaigns for better working conditions in factories.
The taiwanese factory about 50 kilometers southwest of phnom penh seams sports shoes for the japanese manufacturer ASICS. In cambodia, textile and shoe factories together are the largest employers in the country.
The deadline for signing the bangladesh agreement had expired at midnight on thursday. "The goal is to improve the working conditions and lives of the world’s most exploited workers, who earn 38 dollars a month in dangerous conditions," said industrial secretary general, jyrki raina. The companies undertake to increase fire protection and building safety in the factories.
According to the union, the agreement involves more than 1,000 suppliers and intermediaries and thus a large proportion of the approximately four million textile workers in bangladesh. Under the impact of the recent disaster in bangladesh, most of the major retail chains – including H&M, C&A, tschibo, otto, primark, aldi, zara, benetton and abercrombie& fitch – the agreement on.
However, the U.S. Corporations gap and walmart – the world’s largest retailer – had so far refused, explained philip jennings, general secretary of UNI global union. This is "a mistake that consumers will not forget", he said. Walmart announced that it will conduct its own inspections at all 279 factories that produce for it in bangladesh.
The campaign for clean clothes (CCC) criticized that german companies had also not signed the agreement. "They want to stick to existing concepts."Gisela burckhardt of the CCC said the recent disaster in bangladesh had shown that "previous controls have done more to cover up problems than to expose them. We urge the objectors to reconsider their decision and to take into account that their actions endanger human lives."