Since the tragedy of the Rana Plaza factory fire in April, great progress has been made towards improving building safety for workers in Bangladesh.
70 companies have now signed up to the union-backed Accord on Building and Fire Safety. It is excellent news that Debenhams, who were initially reluctant to sign the Accord, have recently signed up following extensive campaigning.
Asda-Walmart and GAP however, and still refusing to sign the Accord and are attempting to undermine it by adopting their own non-binding code that caps spending on safety measures and doesn’t involve unions. This code,which unlike the Accord is not legally binding, falls far short of what is necessary to protect workers from horrors like the Rana Plaza fire.
Asda-Walmart and GAP have adopted this code as an attempt to deflect criticism from campaigners but we need to keep up the pressure to ensure all companies adopt the robust and legally-binding Accord and reject such half-hearted gestures.