Statement Regarding Gap’s Refusal to Agree to a Fire Safety Program in Bangladesh

published 26-10-2012 13:55, last modified 29-04-2013 15:40
Gap Inc. has refused to participate in a comprehensive fire safety program, to which two other major apparel brands have already committed, to address the deadly working conditions at its supplier factories in Bangladesh.
Statement Regarding Gap’s Refusal to Agree to a Fire Safety Program in Bangladesh

Gap logo: taken from Brands of the World

Instead, Gap has announced that it will go it alone with the same self-regulatory approach utilized by Gap and other brands for two decades that has failed to protect the safety of workers in Bangladesh: factory monitoring controlled entirely by Gap, with no transparency, no role for workers or their trade unions, no commitment to pay prices to suppliers that make it feasible for them operate responsibly, and no binding commitments of any kind.

This is the same approach Gap utilized when its monitors repeatedly gave a clean bill of health to That’s It Sportswear, the factory that burned in December 2010, killing 29 workers, many falling to their deaths from the upper floors of the building because locked stairway doors barred their escape. It is the same discredited approach that has failed to prevent hundreds more apparel workers from dying in preventable factory fires in Bangladesh in recent years.

The elements of an effective fire safety program are well understood and are the central components of the comprehensive fire safety program that Gap rejected:

  • Independent inspections by trained fire safety experts not controlled by the brands or the factories being inspected;
  • Public reporting of the results of all inspections;
  • Mandatory repairs and renovations to address all identified hazards – meaning that brands cannot continue to do business with factories whose owners refuse to ensure workers’ safety;
  • A central role for workers and unions, including worker-led safety committees in all factories and access to factories for unions to educate workers on how they can protect their rights and their safety, including their right to refuse unsafe work;
  • Contracts with suppliers that ensure sufficient financing and adequate pricing to cover the cost of eliminating deadly hazards and operating in a safe manner; and
  • A binding contract between the brands and worker representatives that make these commitments enforceable – so the brands have to follow through, even if it means increased costs or longer turnaround times on orders.

Gap refuses to make any of these commitments, even though other major buyers, including PVH Corp. (which owns Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Van Heusen, IZOD, ARROW, G.H. Bass, Eagle) and Tchibo, have agreed to do so. Gap’s behavior is extremely irresponsible given the workers who have already died in their supplier factories and the risks faced by workers who still do work for them.

As the global union federation representing the workers in the sector and as labor rights groups committed to supporting workers and unions, we call on Gap to act responsibly and accept its duty to protect the lives and safety, and respect the basic rights, of the workers in Bangladesh who sew its clothes.

IndustriALL Global Union Federation

Clean Clothes Campaign

International Labor Rights Forum

Maquila Solidarity Nework

Workers Rights Consortium

See also
#WeDemandTk16000: International solidarity with the workers in Bangladesh #WeDemandTk16000: International solidarity with the workers in Bangladesh

The struggle for a minimum wage in Bangladesh that would enable a decent life continues. Following ...

Brands sourcing from Bangladesh urged to support workers’ minimum wage demands Brands sourcing from Bangladesh urged to support workers’ minimum wage demands

More than 20 of the largest brands sourcing from Bangladesh have received a request for them to ...

Clean Clothes Campaign condemns employers' minimum wage proposal for workers in Bangladesh and urges brands to take action Clean Clothes Campaign condemns employers' minimum wage proposal for workers in Bangladesh and urges brands to take action

The Bangladesh garment industry employers’ association has shown utmost disregard for workers’ ...

Brands’ support for a living wage for garment workers in Bangladesh Brands’ support for a living wage for garment workers in Bangladesh

The Minimum Wage Board in Bangladesh will reconvene on Wednesday, 29 August, to set the new ...

Outrageous new minimum wage announced in Bangladesh Outrageous new minimum wage announced in Bangladesh

In a climate of fear and intimidation and after months of delays, Bangladeshi authorities have ...

Complaint filed against Italian auditor for ignoring fatal flaws in garment factory Complaint filed against Italian auditor for ignoring fatal flaws in garment factory

More than 250 people died and dozens were injured in a fire at the Ali Enterprises textile factory ...

Workers' Right to Compensation after Garment Factory Disasters: Making Rights a Reality

Although it’s been five years since the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse, in many countries ...

100 days until current Accord ends – labour signatories urge brands to sign onto 2018 Accord 100 days until current Accord ends – labour signatories urge brands to sign onto 2018 Accord

With 100 days until the current Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety expires, garment ...

Garment workers are waiting for an answer – will H&M deliver on its promise to pay a living wage in 2018? Garment workers are waiting for an answer – will H&M deliver on its promise to pay a living wage in 2018?

Four years ago today, H&M made a bold promise that, if kept, would mean a game changer for the ...

Clean Clothes Campaign statement on five years anniversary of Tazreen Fashions fire Clean Clothes Campaign statement on five years anniversary of Tazreen Fashions fire

Five years ago today, the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh went up in flames. Over 112 ...

more ...