Collaborations of International Buyers for Workers Safety Ministry of Textile Industry
The age of conditional market access • Disney Pull Out due to low WGI and non-initiation of Better work Program in Pakistan • A documentary “Made in Pakistan: Textile Slavery” by Stefano Valentino” with the caption: A journey into the hell of child exploitation • More companies likely to follow Disney Pull Out • What steps should Pakistani companies take?
Bangladesh • Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety • Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh • The Accord is an independent agreement designed to make all garment factories in Bangladesh safe workplaces. It includes independent safety inspections at factories and public reporting of the results of these inspections. • The Accord is a legally binding agreement. It has been signed by over 150 apparel corporations from 20 countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia; two global trade unions, IndustriALL and UNI; and numerous Bangladeshi unions. Around 1540 factories have been registered under the program. • Clean Clothes Campaign, Worker Rights Consortium, International Labor Rights Forum and Maquila Solidarity Network are NGO witnesses to the Accord. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) acts as the independent chair
Contd. • As signatories to the Accord, Companies will each contribute an equitable share of the funding required, up to a maximum contribution of $500,000 per annum. The share is based upon a sliding scale, relative to the individual Company’s volume of sourcing from Bangladesh, relative to the annual volume of other Company signatories. • Signatory companies to this agreement are committed to maintaining long-term sourcing relationships with Bangladesh, as is demonstrated by their commitment to this five-year programme.
Contd. • Where a building or structure is found to pose an immediate threat to worker safety, the Accord will recommend that the building be temporarily evacuated until such time that more in-depth tests can be conducted, substantial weight and load is removed from the building, and/or immediate strengthening measures are completed. Workers will be notified and will continue to receive salary payments while the building is repaired to standard. • If the factory owner refuses to suspend manufacturing, Company members of the Accord are obligated to withdraw their business.
Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety • The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety was founded by a group of North American apparel companies and retailers and brands who have joined together to develop and launch the Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative. • The Alliance was organized through the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) with discussions convened and chaired by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe
The Alliance • The current group includes the following 26 companies: • Ariela and Associates International LLC - Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited • Carter’s Inc. - The Children’s Place Retail Stores Inc • Costco Wholesale Corporation - Fruit of the Loom, Inc. • Gap Inc. - Giant Tiger • Hudson’s Bay Company - IFG Corp. • Intradeco Apparel - J.C. Penney Company Inc. • The Jones Group Inc. -Jordache Enterprises, Inc. • The Just Group - Kohl’s Department Stores • L. L. Bean Inc. -M. Hidary & Company Inc. • Macy’s -Public Clothing Company • Sears Holdings Corporation -Target Corporation • VF Corporation -Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. • YM Inc. - Nordstrom Inc.
Alliance Board of Directors • Honorable Ellen O’Kane Tauscher, Board Chair • Ambassador James Moriarty, former U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh • Bobbi Silten, senior vice president of global responsibility for Gap Inc. and president of Gap Foundation • Daniel Duty, vice president of global affairs for Target • Jan Saumweber, vice president of ethical sourcing at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. • Mohammad Atiqul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturing and Exporters Association (BGMEA) • Muhammad Rumee Ali, advisor to executive director, BRAC, the international NGO founded in Bangladesh • Randy Tucker, global leader of the fire protection and safety team at ccrd, a Houston-based engineering firm • Tom Nelson, vice president for global product procurement for VFC
Salient Features • Around 587 factories have been registered, 57% of which are also members of Accord. • The Alliance has created a fund called Worker Safety Fund which is basically based on cash contributions on a tiered fee structure derived from the preceding year’s dollar volume of each Member’s FOB exports of RMG from Bangladesh. • Member companies have committed not to source from any factory that has been deemed unsafe by qualified inspectors • The Alliance has committed 10 percent of total Member dues to support workers from Alliance factories that might be temporarily displaced during remediation work.
Response from Pakistan • A business roundtable for textile and apparel sector was arranged on the side line of Pak-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting held in Washington DC in collaboration with USTR office in May, 2014. It was considered that Pakistan may look into development of exporters alliance for the US market on the pattern of Bangladesh. • A high-level meeting is planned in Washington DC on 17 Sept, 2014 to discuss Better Work Program and other alternates. Meeting is jointly convened by ILO and IFC. • A documentary is being prepared to offset the impression as well as brand the value chain as compliant.
Way Forward • Nominations by Associations for working group for Alliance • Pursue with International Buyers • Role of Associations for pursuing members for workplace improvement system leading to ILS Audit and Certification • Strong Reporting Mechanism • Publicity