- Rana Plaza collpase sparked worldwide outrage
- Legally-binding Accord signed by 180 brands in just weeks
- Unique combination of Trade Unions and campaigners worked
- Study finds it could be template for other global supply chains
Workers in developing countries can use the Accord signed by the likes of H&M, Primark and Zara following the Rana Plaza disaster as a template to improve their own safety and conditions, according to academics at Warwick Business School.
For the first time a new study has looked into the frantic negotiations and brinkmanship that brought about the landmark agreement.
In April 2013 1,129 workers died and more than 2,500 were injured when the eight-story Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The building housed factories that supplied clothes to household brands like Primark, Matalan, Benetton, Monsoon and Walmart.
Worldwide outrage and pressure from trade unions, campaigners like Clean Clothes Campaign and online groups such as SumOfUs and change.org, saw 180 multinational companies sign a legally binding Accord that forces safety inspections on the factories they use in Bangladesh and legal action if they don’t adhere to it.
In After Rana Plaza: Building power for labour between unions and (consumption-based) social organisations published in Organization, Juliane Reinecke and Jimmy Donaghey, of Warwick Business School, interviewed 29 bosses, campaigners and union officials to detail the steps made to form the Accord.
“Groups like Worker Rights Consortium and trade unions had been campaigning for years for the multinationals to do something about building safety with no success,” said Professor Reinecke. “There had been deadly fires and building collapses since the mid-2000s, so to have an Accord signed by so many companies just weeks after the Rana Plaza tragedy is an amazing achievement.
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