For immediate release: 14 July 2023
This week marks six months since the Pakistan Safety Accord was launched following years of campaigning by trade unions and labour organisations. The binding factory safety programme is modelled on the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry, which has made factories safer for 2.5 million garment workers in Bangladesh.
In the past six months 63 brands have signed the Pakistan Accord, covering hundreds of supplier factories. However, major brands who source from Pakistan are still missing – including UK brands Boohoo, The Very Group, Matalan, Asda and Missguided. Boohoo, The Very Group, Matalan and Fatface are signatories to the International Accord, raising questions as to why workers in Pakistan are being made to wait for the protections afforded workers in Bangladesh. Asda and Missguided have as yet failed to sign either of these life-saving mechanisms for worker safety.
As brands take their time, workers risk their lives. As the recent fire and building collapse at Usman & Sons factory shows, deadly incidents can happen at any time until inspections and implementation of corrective action plans start. Labels of a French supermarket chain, who had failed to sign the 2021 International Accord and the Pakistan Accord were found in the rubble of the Karachi factory.
Zehra Khan, general secretary of the Pakistan Home Based Women Workers’ Federation, said: “Workers in Pakistan have waited for long enough. The solutions exist, but some brands still risk workers’ lives and are escaping their responsibility. We call on brands and retailers to start putting speed behind the operation and make participation in the Pakistan Accord a top priority.”
Nasir Mansoor, general secretary general of the National Trade Union Federation in Pakistan said: “We need all brands with production in Pakistan to sign the Accord as soon as possible. And, once brands sign, they must not sit back and relax. Only after inspections begin and workers can hand in complaints, will the risk of the next factory fire or collapse actually start to lower.”
Notes for editors
- An up-to-date list of Accord signatories: https://internationalaccord.org/signatories/.
- An overview of brands that have not signed: https://cleanclothes.org/campaigns/the-accord/brand-tracker
- CCC’s Incident tracker: https://cleanclothes.org/campaigns/the-accord/deaths-and-injuries-in-the-global-garment-industry
- Report on worker safety in Pakistan compiled by researchers at WISERD and Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, July 2022: https://cleanclothes.org/file-repository/final-pakistan-safety-report-july-2022-ccc.pdf/view
- 2020 Guardian investigation on working conditions, including safety issues, for garment workers in Boohoo’s supply chain in Pakistan: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/dec/22/boohoo-selling-clothes-made-by-pakistani-workers-who-earned-29p-an-hour
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