Get an overview of the most important initiatives that followed in the wake of the Rana Plaza tragedy, which cost the lives of at least 1134 people.
Partnership for Responsible Textile Production
In May 2013, the Danish government, trade unions, civil society organizations and the majority of the Danish garment and textile industry entered into a partnership for responsible textile production in Bangladesh.
The partnership focuses on the rights of the textile workers, their security, greener production and increased supply chain transparency. The partners have begun a series of activities, including information meetings about the Accord on Fire and Building Security and dialogue meetings with trade unions from Bangladesh. The activities are coordinated under the auspices of The Danish Ethical Trading Initiative (DIEH).
DIEH was established to promote international trade that respects labour and human rights, and which contributes to a sustainable development in the developing countries and the emerging growth economies. In concrete terms, DIEH functions as a forum for exchange of knowledge and experience between the business sector, trade unions, NGOs and public institutions on collective solutions to problems related to ethical trade. Companies can use DIEH for guidance and concrete tools for ethical trade and responsible supply chain management.
Denmark provides an additional DKK 25 million to improve the conditions for textile workers in Bangladesh and in other developing countries. 15 million are allocated to the program Better Work, which conducts ongoing audits and assesses whether the factories meet national legislation and international conventions on labour rights. The core funding of the UN labour organization, the ILO, is also increased by DKK 10 million this year, as stated in a press release by the Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, Mogens Jensen.
The accord is a legally binding agreement between trade unions and global textile brands and retailers, which will serve to prevent tragedies such as Rana Plaza. The accord entails independent audits of all the factories that are connected to the signatories. The factories that are included in the accord are committed to correct faults within specified time frames. The companies that sign the accord also commit themselves to remaining in Bangladesh and, if necessary, to help the factories economically with improvements. The accord comprises 1,545 factories and more than 2 million workers. Six Danish companies have signed the agreement: Bestseller, Coop Denmark, Dansk Supermarked, DK Company, IC Companys A/S, and Texman.
This initiative is another agreement that aims to improve the level of security in the textile sector in Bangladesh. Contrary to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, however, it is not a legally binding agreement, there is no trade union participation, and the companies do not commit themselves to retain their dedication to the factories involved. The agreement primarily covers American brands such as Walmart, Gap, and Fruit of the Loom.
Danish 3F is present in Bangladesh, where they work to upgrade and support local trade unions, among other things. Read more about 3F’s work in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is also an important focus country for the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), which is a network organization that aims to improve the conditions for workers in the textile industries in the developing countries. More than 300 organizations from all over the world participate in this network. One of the most central demands is that the textile workers attain the right to organize so that they can have influence on their own conditions and wages. Clean Clothes Campaign Denmark consists, among others, of LO-Greater Copenhagen, ActionAid Denmark, and Handelskartellet Danmark.
ActionAid is present in a great part of Bangladesh, where they work to end child labour, attract attention to labour rights, and generally improve the working conditions for workers in the industrial areas.
Save the Children has struggled to improve the conditions for the many children and child labourers of Bangladesh since the country gained independence in 1971; and there is plenty of work. More than a third of the population of Bangladesh is below 18 years of age, and almost 7 million children below 14 years of age work to support their family.
If you know of other initiatives, you are very welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org