11th November 2020
UK government still hasn’t produced a lorry drivers’ guide
The Bangladesh Accord has explained why the Aswad Composite Mills plant in Gazipur was used by a number of signatories, but does not feature in the factories list the Accord published on October 2.
So far, Accord signatories H&M, Next, Carrefour, Loblaws and Primark have been identified as having been involved with production at the plant, though some have not had direct dealings.
The Accord gave an explanation for this on October 10, which include a commitment that “Despite the fact that the factory is not covered by the Accord, the signatory members of the Accord that use the Aswad Composite Mill have agreed to work within the spirit of the Accord in providing necessary support to the victims and their families and to avoid a future tragic event given the urgent need on the ground.” Some activists might find a number of aspects in this statement challenging – but it does appear to commit signatories to compensating victims’ families.
Gap, Walmart (or at least Walmart-owned George at Asda) and Hudson’s Bay, all signatories of the Bangladesh Alliance have also been implicated in using the Gazipur plant. Though the wording of the “compensation” clauses of the two agreements is similar, this group have not yet offered similar assurances. One of the three basic reasons may North American buyers refused to sign the Accord was the risk of unlimited compensation payments in the event of a tragedy like this (the other two were the role of unions in the Accord and the requirement to remain committed to the listed Bangladesh factories)
The difference between the two agreements is subtle, and has been widely misinterpreted (especially, in our view, by Alliance signatories and their declared enemies). It will be interesting to see how the three Alliance members will handle te consequences of the Aswad fire. The Alliance has not yet published its factory list – and it would now be very surprising indeed if their published list does not include fabric and spinning mills