Stop Exploiting Garment Factory Workers

Garments_Factory_in_Bangladesh

Target: Silvana Cassano, United Colors of Benetton CEO

Goal: Shut down unsafe garment factories and improve worker safety standards

A large building housing several garment factories in Bangladesh recently collapsed, killing 87 people and injuring more than a thousand. Factory owners from the building ignored safety warnings after a crack was detected in the building’s structure and allowed workers to enter the factory. These owners included several apparel companies, including United Colors of Benetton. These companies refuse to sign a binding agreement with unions and labor groups to prevent these unsafe working conditions. United Colors of Benetton and other clothing sellers need to enforce factory safety standards and conduct legitimate auditing of their factories.

In 2011, several major western retailers rejected a proposal made by a group of Bangladeshi and international unions that proposed an independent inspectorate to oversee all factories in Bangladesh that could oversee safety and shut down unsafe facilities as part of a legally binding contract. The companies rejected this proposal because it would be legally binding and costly. In fact, inspections would have been funded by contributions from the companies of merely $500,000 per year, compared to the $20 billion Western brands such as United Colors of Benetton make from the garment industry in Bangladesh per year.

Factory safety auditing programs used by international corporations to monitor working conditions in their supply chains are a façade and not sufficient to protect worker safety.  Leading brands and governments continue to allow garment workers to die or suffer disabling injuries in unsafe factories making clothes for Western shoppers. It is unacceptable that corporations still refuse to sign a binding agreement with unions and labor groups to put an end to unsafe working conditions.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Silvana Cassano, United Colors of Benetton CEO

A large building housing several garment factories in Bangladesh that produced clothes for United Colors of Benetton recently collapsed, killing 87 people and injuring more than a thousand. Factory safety auditing programs currently used by your company to monitor working conditions in your supply chains are clearly not sufficient to protect worker safety. United Colors of Benetton needs to enforce factory safety standards and conduct legitimate auditing of their factories.

In addition, it is unacceptable that corporations still refuse to sign a binding agreement with unions and labor groups to put an end to unsafe working conditions. Lax standards put in place without a worker safety contract is intolerable and United Colors of Benetton must allow a contract to oversee safety and shut down unsafe facilities when necessary so that more people do not lose their lives.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit:  Fahad Faisal via Wikimedia commons

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