The Make Amazon Pay coalition is calling on Amazon to sign the International Accord for health and safety in the apparel and textile industry on the 10th anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse.
On April 24, 2013, the world was left stunned by the tragic loss of over 1,100 workers and injuries to over 2,000 others resulting from the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Following this catastrophic event, UNI Global Union and IndustriALL, the global union federations, spearheaded negotiations with clothing brands. The objective was to prevent a recurrence of the Rana Plaza disaster and to ensure that the safety of garment workers is prioritized to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
“Amazon’s failure to sign the Accord is a failure to respect the workers producing goods in its supply chains, said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “As we mark the ten-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, we call on Amazon to sign the Accord and ensure the safety of its workers.”
Over 200 brands have signed the International Accord since its launch, securing safer jobs for over two million factory workers in Bangladesh. The Accord established an independent body to inspect factories and set timelines for correcting occupational hazards. Lauded as “the most effective campaign of the globalized era,” it revolutionized safety in the Bangladeshi garment industry and has now expanded to Pakistan.
Despite becoming one of the world’s largest apparel retailers, Amazon has failed to sign onto the Accord. As the largest retailer of clothing in the United States, Amazon’s failure to sign is unacceptable.
Nazma Akter, Progressive International council member and President of the Sommilito Garment Sramik Federation, said: “Rana Plaza was a preventable tragedy. Future tragedies can be prevented by fashion brands taking responsibility for the safety of all their workers, who make their clothes and profits. Amazon, the world’s largest clothing retailer, still refuses to sign the International Accord that would keep garment workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan safe. Despite a global revenue of over half a trillion dollars, Amazon still puts its profits above the lives of garment workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan. That’s why today Amazon workers and their allies from around the world – from Britain to Bangladesh – are uniting to demand Amazon sign the Accord.”
The International Accord’s success demonstrates the power of workers acting together at every part of the supply chain. “When warehouse, delivery workers and factory workers in every part of Amazon’s global system stand together, they can build the power to Make Amazon Pay,” said Daniel Kopp from Progressive International.
Make Amazon Pay, co-convened by UNI Global Union and the Progressive International, is a coalition of over 80 unions, civil society organizations, environmentalists and tax watchdogs including UNI Global Union, the Progressive International, Greenpeace, 350.org, Tax Justice Network and Amazon Workers International. The coalition is united behind a set of common demands that Amazon pays its workers fairly and respects their right to join unions, pays its fair share of taxes and commits to real environmental sustainability.