Bangladesh Tragedy Shows Walmart Failures on Worker Safety
Supply chain workers renew call on Walmart to adopt worker safety agreement
April 24, 2013—Today’s horrific garment factory collapse in Bangladesh shows the need for Walmart to commit to real safety and workers’ rights standards for all the workers who produce and deliver the commodities sold on Walmart’s shelves everyday, said US Walmart supply chain workers Wednesday. Workers from National Guestworker Alliance, Warehouse Workers United, New Labor, Warehouse Workers for Justice and Jobs with Justice who recently meet in Los Angeles and demanded Walmart commit to protecting workers on their supply chain in a set of core principles denounced the negligence that contributed to today’s tragedy.
The collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza building, which housed five garment factories, reportedly killed at least 80 people and injured over 800. It came just six months after a deadly fire at another Bangladesh garment factory that supplied to Walmart killed 112 people. Walmart has played a led role in blocking stricter safety standards at Bangladesh garment factories, citing high costs, according to the New York Times.
Kalpona Akter, a former garment worker who directs the Bangladesh Center for Worker Safety and attended the meeting in Los Angles earlier this month, said:
“These tragedies can be prevented by multinational corporations like Walmart and the Gap that operate in Bangladesh. Because of these companies’ negligence and willful ignorance, garment workers are in danger every day because of the unsafe working conditions.”
The US Walmart supply chain workers renewed their call for the megaretailer to agree to supplier standards that enforceable, credible, and include workers’ voice to ensure safety and dignity across Walmart’s global supply chain.