Rana Plaza anniversary: MEPs must support due diligence today!

By Staff
5 Min Read

Joint statement by industriAll Europe, IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Europa and UNI Global Union on the anniversary of Rana Plaza.

Today, marks the anniversary of the 2013 industrial homicide that killed more than 1,100 people and injured thousands more, as the Rana Plaza collapsed onto garment workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This year, the anniversary coincides with the final vote in the European Parliament on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, which, if adopted, would make the respect of environmental standards, human rights including workers’ rights mandatory along global value chains.

To deliver this due diligence effectively, there is growing interest in binding agreements, out of increasing recognition that voluntary social auditing is a failed mechanism, both in terms of protecting workers’ rights and reducing risk to multinational buyer brands and their investors.

Judith Kirton-Darling, General Secretary of industriAll European Trade Union says:

“Today, MEPs have a chance to make a real positive change to workers’ lives, including those in the international textiles sector, which unfortunately continues to be infamous for the abuse of workers’ rights. All workers deserve to work in safe environments with decent conditions and we must do all that we can to prevent another disaster like Rana Plaza. We need strong EU rules on due diligence to hold companies accountable for their supply chains wherever they are.’’

The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive will require EU and non-EU companies with a minimum turnover of 450 million Euros in the EU to conduct human rights and environmental due diligence across their value chains.

Oliver Roethig, UNI Europa Regional Secretary, said:

“The CSDDD will make essential advancements in ensuring that a company can no longer unilaterally decide its approach to human rights due diligence. Instead, it will be obligatory to meaningfully involve trade unions through the due diligence process. As the directive comes into force, these provisions will ensure that the new requirements are a substantive step forward from the failed approaches of corporate social responsibility.”

Set up in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse by global unions, the legally binding International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry which to date has been signed by over 200 of the world’s biggest brands and fashion retailers. It has resulted in more than 56,000 independent inspections in supplier factories, over 140,000 safety issues have been fixed and 2 million workers have received health and safety training. The Accord is now working to save lives in Pakistan.

Says IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Atle Høie:

“While we are proud of the work of the Accord we call on more international action to hold textile brands to account. If adopted, the EU directive will change the lives of millions of workers for the better. The irony that the final vote falls on the same day as the Rana Plaza anniversary is not lost and textile workers in Bangladesh call on the European Parliament today to support the directive and hold international textile brands to account.’’

Christy Hoffman, UNI Global Union General Secretary, said:

“Just as UNI and IndustriALL made history when we negotiated the Accord 11 years ago, the MEPs voting today have a chance to change the landscape of supply chain responsibility across the world. The Accord shows the difference unions and companies can make when we make binding rules with a sectoral impact. The CSDDD moves supply chain accountability to a new level and is a huge step towards ensuring that ‘Rana Plaza- Never Again’ is more than a slogan.”

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