A story of successful action by a ‘coalition of concern’ of consumer groups and labour groups.
The tale begins in tragedy: last month 28 Bangladeshi workers lost their lives in a fire in their workplace. Building exits had been locked by their managers, which is not uncommon in countries with poor labour standards.
The factory supplied fabric used by Abercrombie & Fitch, Target, JC Penney, Osh Kosh B’Gosh, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and GAP.
When news got out, the International Labor Rights Forum, an NGO, started a petition on social change website change.org calling on the clothing companies to take some responsibility by paying compensation and conducting safety audits of similar factories. 25,000 signatures were gathered.
Other groups, such as United Students Against Sweatshops, joined in.
The campaign yielded a result this week when GAP agreed to both the demands of the petition. Well done, GAP executives!
However so far none of the other companies have committed to any action so the petition is still running. You can add your voice here.
Update, Feb 9: After pressure, the other brands who source from this factory have also agreed to pay compensation (read more). Well done, readers who added your voice to this campaign.
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In an ironic twist, on the same day as the factory fire, authorities arrested Moshrefa Mishu, the leader of Bangladesh’s textile workers union. She has been agitating for implementation of the nation’s increased minimum wage. She’s still in jail now. You can petition for her release, too!
Update, May 1: She has since been released – thank you readers who added their names to the petition for her release.