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Signing on for workers' rights in the Textile and Garment Industry

56 brands have so far signed the new International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry, taking responsibility for workers’ rights in their supply chains. The Accord promotes workplace safety through independent safety inspections, training programs, and a complaints mechanism for workers.North American brands are conspicuously lacking from the list of signatories, which to date includes brands like H&M, Inditex (Zara), PVH, C&A and Otto Group.

Building on ten years of making the textile and garment industry safer, in November, global trade unions and fashion brands and retailers reached agreement on a new International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry. The renegotiated contract secures the work of the legally binding Accord until the end of the decade, strengthens the complaint mechanism for workers and includes commitments for an expansion into other countries.

Signing on, brands commit to continue the health and safety programs in Bangladesh and Pakistan, and to establish programmes in other countries.

The full list of signatories to the International Accord was revealed before Christmas, and the number currently stands at 56. 48 global brands have signed the Bangladesh Safety Agreement and 88 have signed the Pakistan Accord. Multiple brands are in the final stages of internal reviews and are expected to sign the agreements in the coming days. The latest list of signatories is available here.

For garment brands, signing the legally binding Accord shows a clear commitment to workers' rights. Global unions welcome that commitment and look forward to continuing working together with the brands. However, this also shines a light on the absence of US brands on the signatory list and their apparent unwillingness to take responsibility for their supply chain.


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