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Exploitation 20 British brands fail to sign up to safety regulations to prevent gross labour abuses

TWENTY British brands have still not signed up to new safety regulations for garment workers introduced following the 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, campaigners revealed today.

The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, which is due for renewal in less than 100 days is to be replaced by a new accord covering two million workers.

So far, 109 garment companies across the world have signed the new agreement, but 20 British companies, including Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, Next, Morrisons and Sainsbury's, are among those that have not.

Clean Clothes Campaign international co-ordinator Ineke Zeldenrust said: “Not signing the 2018 accord means that, 100 days from now, workers will be left in unmonitored factories.

“As a consequence, garment brands will fall short on their due diligence obligations to keep the workers in their supply chain safe.”

The original accord came into effect in May 2013 following the Rana Plaza building collapse of the same year, which killed 1,134 workers.

However, War On Want argued that, while the accord is an important step towards addressing “gross labour abuses rampant in the garment supply chain,” voluntary opt-in agreements do not go far enough.

“The only way decent foreign labour rights can be achieved in factories is by ensuring that workers have the right to collectively organise,” said the charity’s Thulsi Narayanasamy.

“We cannot expect that the Bangladesh accord is going to address anything more than its narrow remit of structural safety. On the fifth anniversary of Rana Plaza, now is the time to prioritise the right to organise.

“With brands making billions in profit each year, it shouldn’t be optional for them to respect basic labour and human rights.”

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