Leading the fight for safe and healthy workplaces

You are here

Tell Wal-Mart and Gap to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh: SumOfUs.org

Did our last blog post about Wal-Mart and Gap's refusal to sign the legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh fire you up? Are you ready to take action to improve working conditions in Bangladesh and here in the States? If so, see this guest post from SumOfUs.org.


We’ve just learned that a deadly factory fire broke out at another factory in Bangladesh on Tuesday, killing eight people and injuring another 50. It's just the latest in a string of tragedies that have struck garment workers in Bangladesh.

The records we’ve obtained so far show that the factory supplied both Walmart and Gap. The media is just starting to report on the latest tragedy. Let’s make sure that as the news breaks, tens of thousands of consumers are putting the blame squarely where it belongs -- on the shoulders of greedy companies like Gap and Walmart. It shouldn't take more deaths to convince them to protect their workers by signing the binding Accord of Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

Walmart and Gap -- don’t let more Bangladeshi workers die. Sign the Fire and Building Safety Accord now!

Since the Tazreen factory fire last November, we've joined with activists around the world and pleaded for apparel brands to sign the Bangladesh Safety Accord, which could make tragedies like this a thing of the past. In the wake of the horrific Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed more than 1,000 workers, more than 90 companies agreed to serious reforms, but Walmart and Gap pushed a non-binding PR stunt of a safety plan. Bangladeshi workers are still paying the price with their lives.

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh that Walmart and Gap refused to sign was designed to prevent tragedies like this one. Under the Accord, factories will undergo fire safety inspections, mandatory repairs and renovations, and apparel brands will be required to help pay for any safety upgrades. The Accord's inspections will be starting soon, and with hundreds of factories to cover, it won’t fix everything overnight. In fact, several companies that have signed sourced from the factory that burned down yesterday. This latest tragedy just underscores why a new safety standard is so urgently needed, and the fact remains that the Accord is the only credible plan to stop future disasters.

Incredibly, Walmart and Gap praised the Bangladeshi firm responsible for this disaster as a “top supplier.” It's just another reminder that we can't trust corporations with people's safety, which is why the independent inspections and legally-binding commitments to safety improvements that the Accord creates are so important. We can't rely on Gap and Walmart's corporate-controlled "alliance for worker safety" to do much more than give corporations an excuse to avoid getting serious about worker safety.

Not only have Walmart and Gap refused to sign a binding safety agreement, they have also refused to compensate the victims of the factory disasters in which they've been implicated. In recent years, over a thousand workers have lost their lives in factory fires and collapses in Bangladesh, and hundreds more have been injured so severely that they'll never work again. That means that thousands of families have lost a primary breadwinner and are still struggling to survive. Walmart and Gap have made billions off of Bangladeshi workers -- they have a responsibility to make sure that their victims receive full and fair compensation.

When Walmart, Gap, and their allies walked away from the Accord, we knew more workers would die as a consequence. We can’t let this go on any longer. Let’s make sure that Walmart, Gap, and the media hears us loud and clear as this story breaks.

Tell Walmart and Gap to sign the Fire and Building Safety Accord now and to pay full compensation to all factory disaster victims.

Thanks for all you do,

Rob, Angus, Paul, Kaytee, and the team as SumOfUs.org