Human chain to get Wal-Mart, Gap to sign safety accord
Workers and activists yesterday formed a human chain in front of Rana Plaza, as part of a worldwide demonstration to urge Wal-Mart and Gap to sign on to the accord on fire and building safety in Bangladesh.
“Foreign buyers buy from Bangladesh to make profits, but, in exchange, they do little to ensure a safe work environment,” said Kalpona Akter, executive director of Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity.
So far, more than 60 noted companies including H&M and Inditex have signed the accord which legally binds the buyers to paying $5 lakh every year for factory maintenance and repair.
Although the two US retail giants finalised an agreement to establish a $50 million five-year fund to improve the safety conditions in Bangladeshi garment factories, activists decried the scheme due to its non-legally binding nature.
About 150 people including victims of the Rana Plaza collapse and ten injured workers from the Tazreen fire participated in the human chain, which lasted for half an hour from 11:30am.
Similar demonstrations were held simultaneously in cities of the US, UK, Canada, Europe and Japan.