A group of 70 retailers including H&M, Marks & Spencer and Primark, have signed up to a plan to inspect their clothing factories in Bangladesh in the wake of the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in April.
Under the new accord, retailers have agreed to initial inspections of factories they source from to “identify grave hazards” and the need for urgent repairs within the next nine months.
As part of the contract, signatory brands and retailers have guaranteed to repair any unsafe factories, and agreed to submit data on the factories they source from, with the list publicly disclosed.
The plan has been agreed between retailers, international and local trade unions and non-governmental organisations.
The accord was put place following the collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza building in April, which killed more than 1,100 people.
IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina said: “This historic, legally binding Accord will effect tangible change on the ground and help make the Bangladeshi garment industry safe and sustainable. Voluntary initiatives have proved insufficient, as 1,800 Bangladeshi garment workers have died in factory fires and building collapses during the past seven years. A profound change is possible only with a strong coalition between trade unions, international brands and retailers, Bangladeshi authorities and employers, and with worker involvement in the workplace with guaranteed freedom of association.”
Other retailers signed up to the accord include Debenhams, Fat Face and John Lewis.