Ten years after Rana Plaza, the world of fashion hasn’t changed enough

The global response at the time can be largely summed up by this International Safety Convention (formerly known as the Bangladesh Accord, established in 2013) and Coalition for the Safety of Bangladeshi Workersa five-year plan focused on fire and construction safety inspections, employee training, and employee empowerment, which was lifted in 2018. The agreement applies to registered factories, but not to unregistered factories or domestic workers, many of whom are still They struggle for recognition from the brands that hire them indirectly.

“The agreement was – and still is – a valuable outcome and a useful intervention. What it did not produce from Rana Plaza were other reforms needed to ensure decent working conditions in general,” Work behind the label. Employee wages are still at a low level. Moreover, unbundling remains a major problem and brands lack transparency and accountability.”

© Taslima Akhtar

Workers were fired during the 2019 wage crisis in Bangladesh after protesting against a new lower minimum wage, and during the 2016-17 Ashulia wage protest.

Disrupted balance of power

According to the Fashion Transparency Index As of 2022, 73 percent of brands will not disclose how they operate on employees’ living wages. Additionally, 96 percent did not disclose how many workers in their supply chain receive a living wage. 94 percent do not disclose how much progress they make on their living wage each year.

To restore the balance of power in supply chains, brands and suppliers must get to know their employees, says the director of policy and research at Fashion revolutionLev Simpliciano. According to the Fashion Transparency Index By 2022, 87 percent of brands will not disclose how many of their suppliers unionize. And while 84 percent of brands post commitments about freedom of association, only 40 percent share how to put those policies into practice.

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“Safety is important, but we need to talk about the human impact of this model. Most brands are still just trying to mitigate the risks. Dr. Hakan Karusmann, associate professor at Cardiff University and co-founder of the EU-funded Research Center for Social Innovation – Targeting Outcomes, says Psycho-emotional overproduction – not a priority” The hub of the responsible fashion supply chain (FRESCH).

Ten years later

The disaster happened ten years ago. This is why the global unions UNI and IndustriALL, which drafted the agreement, are now calling for a notice of accession. In Bangladesh, 194 brands and retailers – representing about 2.4 million workers – have already signed the agreement. In Pakistan, 46 brands and retailers—representing 750,000 employees—have committed to the effort.

According to the unions, the agreement has so far carried out nearly 56,000 safety inspections in 2,400 garment factories in Bangladesh. More than 140,000 security issues have been resolved, with an improvement rate of 91 percent. The impact on workers in registered factories is undeniable. said Janavi Dev, International Coordinator for HomeNet International.

UNI’s deputy secretary, Alke Boissiger, says the agreement hopes to expand further. While the next country has yet to be chosen, she says India is a potential target. “India is a huge producer of textiles. But it is also a huge country with different domestic laws and restrictions for foreign organisations. Based on our current capacity, I cannot say when we will roll out the deal in India. But it is very important for us.”

Work behind the label You are lobbying UK politicians to pressure the Bangladesh government for this Work injury chart country to support it. This is a leading Social Security initiative that provides income protection and medical care for work-related injuries. This is unique, because employees don’t have to fight about it on a case-by-case basis. “Ten years after Rana Plaza, the scheme is still in the pilot phase,” explains Breher. “There is a strong will to be enshrined in labor law.”

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Megan Vasquez

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