One week ahead of its annual Board meeting, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (ABWS) announced it will extend compensation benefits to workers from two months’ to up to four months’ wages for workers displaced as a result of factory remediation, effective immediately.
To date, Alliance inspections have resulted in the closure of five factories for remediation. Structural faults were found in all five cases, raising immediate safety concerns. In May, the Alliance—in a 50/50 partnership with factory owners—began dispersing funds directly to workers displaced as a result of factory closures. The benefits are made possible through a $5 million Worker Support Fund established by the Alliance and its member brands. The Alliance has paid wages to more than 1,000 displaced workers to date.
“Ensuring that no garment worker has to put herself at risk to earn a living is our top priority, but we believe protecting and supporting workers must go hand in hand,” said Ellen Tauscher, Alliance Independent Chair and former U.S. Congresswoman. “We are committed to ensuring as factory safety improvements are made, workers are not expected to pay the price.”
“For structural repairs when necessary, worker’s wages should be protected as per law of the land,” said Wajedul Islam Khan, General Secretary of Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra. “While compensation, whatever the amount, is not more valuable than a life, we applaud the Alliance for taking this critical step to protect and respond to the needs of the workers and their families.”
About The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety
The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety was founded by a group of North American apparel companies, retailers and brands who joined together to develop and launch the Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative, a binding, five-year undertaking that will be transparent, results-oriented, measurable and verifiable with the intent of improving safety in Bangladeshi ready-made garment (RMG) factories. The Alliance provides global apparel companies and retailers the unprecedented opportunity to come together and put forward concrete solutions to issues that impact apparel and retail industries worldwide.