- Bangladeshi textile workers' unions reached a $2.3 million settlement with a multinational apparel brand accused of ignoring dangerous hazards at its factories, the Guardian reported Monday. The brand cannot be named under terms of the settlement.
- Two years in the making, the settlement requires that the unnamed manufacturer pay $2 million to fix issues at more than 150 garment factories in Bangladesh. An additional $300,000 will go to the two unions that brought the case — IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union — to be paid into their joint “supply chain worker support fund.”
- The case was heard at the Hague, after the workers' unions noted that basic safety features at the factories were lacking, leaving workers vulnerable. Locked gates, structural faults and a lack of fire doors and sprinkler systems remained unaddressed despite union complaints.
Safety and human rights issues continue to plague supply chains and have monetary consequences for companies that operate unsafe factories.
Although hazards such as the one in Bangladesh are still prevalent, organizations that monitor worker safety are noticing improvements.
"We have seen huge progress in the factories we work with, and less than 10% of the calls to our helpline are related to urgent safety concerns," Jim Moriarty, Executive Director for the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety told Supply Chain Dive. "We work constructively with workers and factory managers to resolve any remaining challenges, but the comprehensive remediation and training we have implemented in our factories, taken together, have significantly diminished the chances of a factory accident resulting in a significant loss of life."
The ruling handed down by the Hague sets an important precedent, even if it took two years to achieve: when manufacturers fail to protect their workers, they'll pay a price. In a scenario where repeated requests for resolution and improvement are ignored, concerned on-site managers and worker protection groups have little choice but to resort to legal action.