DHAKA, Bangladesh, April 24, 2014 /CNW/ - "Voluntary compliance doesn't work. One year after the worst garment industry tragedy in history, it's time for global companies to pay compensation to the victims and their families," said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers (USW) National Director for Canada.
Neumann was in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with an international delegation to mark the anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy that killed 1,138 workers and injured 2,000 more.
"We call on Canadian brands that source their garments in Bangladesh to do the right thing and join the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, as many global brands have already done," said Neumann.
More than 160 global brands and retailers have signed the Accord with IndustriALL and UNI Global Union to make the garment industry safe and sustainable.
"As Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) President Ken Georgetti wrote in the Toronto Star today, Loblaw is the only Canadian company producing garments in Bangladesh that has signed on to the Accord," said Neumann.
"Shame on Hudson's Bay, Canadian Tire, Mark's Work Warehouse, Moore's, Jacob, Laura, Reitman's, Le Château, YM Inc. (Bluenotes, Suzy Shier, West 49, Stitches and Sirens) and Lululemon, who are among notable Canadian companies sourcing clothing from Bangladesh that have still to sign the Accord," said Neumann
"We are here in Dhaka to remember the victims of the horrific tragedy, to fight for the injured and the families of those who were killed and to continue our work towards better and safer working conditions for all workers in Bangladesh," said Neumann.
Back in Toronto, Steelworkers joined a demonstration downtown at the corner of King St. W. and York Sts, near a Children's Place store, one of the retailers that has failed to pay compensation to victims' children, families and injured workers.
The protest was part of actions taking place around the world to mark the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse.
During the past 12 months, IndustriALL-affiliated unions have organized more than 40,000 workers in 120 factories into unions in Bangladesh.
"This effort to build union power will continue. There cannot be an effective safety culture without an organized workforce," said Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL.
IndustriALL's campaign to guarantee freedom of association, organize workers and raise minimum wages continues.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, email@example.com