Labour groups demand H&M deliver "safety conscious" fashion

published 07-04-2016 07:30, last modified 14-04-2016 10:39
Labour rights groups in Europe, Bangladesh and North America are today launching a call for consumers to participate in a global day of action on May 3rd. The protests, which will coincide with H&M’s 2016 Annual General Meeting in Solna, Sweden, will demand H&M finally keep its promises to make its Bangladeshi supplier factories safe. A review of corrective action plans relating to 32 of H&M’s strategic suppliers, carried out this week, shows that the majority of these factories still lack adequate fire exits nearly three years after H&M committed to improve working conditions by signing the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

The call to action comes as the Swedish fast fashion retailer increases attempts to promote its sustainability commitments in the face of growing criticism of worker rights abuses in its supply chains. The launch of H&M’s “Conscious Exclusive Collection,” taking place today at the Louvre in Paris, is one of several events H&M is holding to promote itself as a “sustainable” company. This will be followed by the launch of a video by pop star M.I.A. to promote H&M’s “World Recycle Week,” scheduled for the April 18-24, the same week that labour rights activists will commemorate the 1,134 workers killed by the Rana Plaza building collapse. That devastating garment industry disaster in 2013 originally led to the signing of the Bangladesh Accord.

Workers’ rights advocates have called on H&M to prove its commitments through action rather than stunts. They are specifically urging the company by ensure that three vital repairs – the removal of locks from fire exits, the removal of sliding doors and collapsible gates, and the installation of fire-rated doors and enclosure of stairwells – are completed by the time of the company’s Annual Meeting on May 3rd.

The importance of such repairs was once again underscored by a huge fire at a H&M supplier, Matrix Sweaters Ltd, in February. Only a handful of people suffered injuries, largely due to the fact that most workers had yet to arrive for their shift. The Accord’s inspection report for the factory revealed that it had missed dozens of deadlines to eliminate fire hazards and make the structure safe. Had the fire broken out just an hour later, scores of workers may have been trapped inside.

As a response to H&M’s inaction, the Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, and United Students Against Sweatshops have launched a campaign demanding H&M address its broken promises, with a campaign website, www.hmbrokenpromises.com. From the 25th of April, the day after the Rana Plaza anniversary, the groups will be launching a variety of online and street actions, culminating in a Global Day of Action on May 3rd.

For a list of cities in which protests will occur, and for more information, please visit www.hmbrokenpromises.com.

 

See also
Statement of the Bangladesh Accord's Witness Signatories on the three-year renewal of the agreement Statement of the Bangladesh Accord's Witness Signatories on the three-year renewal of the agreement

Today, the global union federations Industriall and UNI announced agreement with brand and retailer ...

Global support for Bangladesh factory safety surpasses one million

Over one million people have signed petitions calling for brands sourcing from Bangladesh to sign ...

Textile mill fire in Bangladesh signals need for expanded safety inspections and remedy Textile mill fire in Bangladesh signals need for expanded safety inspections and remedy

A devastating fire in a Bangladesh textile mill at the beginning of this month reaffirms the need ...

European Parliament should vote for an investigation into Bangladesh labour violations European Parliament should vote for an investigation into Bangladesh labour violations

Clean Clothes Campaign is today calling on members of the European Parliament to call for a trade ...

EU should use review to push for workers' rights and freedom of association in Bangladesh EU should use review to push for workers' rights and freedom of association in Bangladesh

Tomorrow, 18 May, the third annual review of the so-called "Sustainability Compact" between ...

Four years after Rana Plaza: steps in the right direction but a lot remains to be done Four years after Rana Plaza: steps in the right direction but a lot remains to be done

On 24 April 2017 the Clean Clothes Campaign network will be remembering those killed and injured at ...

Labour rights groups call for a review of EU-Bangladesh trade agreement following massive crackdown on workers rights

The Clean Clothes Campaign is today joining calls from the global trade unions to demand that the ...

Brands must intervene to win release of imprisoned labour leaders in Bangladesh

Twenty-two human and labour rights organizations from around the world are calling on H&M, C&A, ...

Nordic fashion brands need to tackle abuse of Syrian refugees in Turkish garment factories

Thousands of Syrian refugees work long hours in Turkey’s apparel factories in unhealthy ...

Invisible workers - Syrian refugees in Turkish garment factories

Thousands of Syrian refugees work long hours in Turkey’s apparel factories in unhealthy ...

more ...