After several factory tragedies in Bangladesh, Canadians are now aware that the products they purchase may be produced in places that aren't safe for workers. While many of those working in the factories were adults, some were older children. As a result of these tragedies, children's lives were lost and children have been forced to work because they lost a parent, a key income earner.
There are 168 million children in the global workforce today; 85 million work in hazardous conditions. In some cases, these children are working because their parent can't due to injury or death on the job.
Several Canadian retailers with suppliers in Bangladesh have taken the first step to address labour conditions by participating in the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. But they need to go further by signing the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. This Accord includes independent inspections, mandatory action, provides more protections for workers including compensation, and is legally binding. Signing this Accord is key step in a path to creating supply chains that are free from exploitive labour.
Ask Canadian retailers to adopt ethical labour practices free from hazardous child labour.
There are 168 million children in the global workforce today; 85 million work in hazardous conditions. Several factory tragedies in Bangladesh have resulted in lives lost, including those of older children. The loss of income earners has also forced children into work to survive. We need action by the government of Bangladesh, factory owners and international companies to ensure work places are safe, free from exploitation to prevent further work place tragedies.
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is an initiative that will help. This agreement requires companies with suppliers in Bangladesh to make factories safe — to fund and submit to recommendations from independent building inspectors, make mandatory repairs and renovations, compensate workers and families for lost wages, as well as publicly report on their efforts.
I strongly urge Canadian retailers to take a key step in preventing further factory tragedies and sign the legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
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