Following the tragic Rana Plaza disaster in April 2013, the Bangladesh Accord was created to protect garment and textile workers in Bangladesh.
On 24 April 2013, 1,133 people were killed when a building housing garment factories in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed. The building had clear structural issues which had been ignored by its owner, with workers producing garments for western shops such as Primark forced into work regardless. These extremely poor health and safety standards were emblematic of the poor working standards labourers in the textile industry were exposed to.
Following the building’s collapse, there was a significant international outcry, and soon after the Bangladesh Accord was created. The Accord is a legally binding agreement between brands and trade unions in support of creating a safe and healthy textile industry in Bangladesh. It intended to ensure labourers did not have to work in fear of fires, building collapses, or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures.
The Accord is now the most effective labour rights initiative ever – over 2.5 million garment workers in the area now work in safe factories as a result. This is a clear example of the power of consumer pressure and industry cooperation working together to vastly improve the lives of those within our textile industry for the better, off the back of tragedy.