Breaking: we’ve just learned that earlier today, a deadly factory fire broke out at one of The Bay’s supplier factories in Bangladesh. Already, 10 bodies have been recovered, and it’s unknown what the ultimate death toll will be.
Import records we’ve just obtained show that the most recognized clothing brand in Canada, The Bay, is one of the factory’s customers. For months, The Bay (or HBC as it now brands itself) has been refusing to take action to prevent disasters just like this by signing the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord. And now, Bangladeshi workers are paying the price with their lives.
We need to tell The Bay now that we won’t tolerate this any longer. The media is only just picking up this story — let’s make sure that as the news breaks, tens of thousands of Canadians are already speaking out to demand action. Let’s honour the workers who lost their lives today in the best way we can, and get The Bay to sign the Fire and Safety Accord now.
The Fire and Safety Accord that The Bay is refusing to sign could have prevented this fire. Under the Accord, factories will undergo fire and building safety inspections, mandatory repairs and renovations, and creates an obligation for companies to help pay for the necessary safety upgrades. It won’t fix everything overnight — and another company who has signed the Accord is also implicated in this fire. But the Fire and Safety Accord is the only credible plan to stop future disasters — and The Bay won’t join.
For months, hundreds of thousands of SumOfUs.org supporters have joined a global call to demand that clothing companies pay a few pennies more per shirt to make sure their workers are safe. And many companies have responded — days after thousands of Canadian SumOfUs.org supporters asked Joe Fresh to take action, the Canadian clothing brand signed the Fire and Safety Accord, along with companies like Benetton, Zara and H&M.
But The Bay is throwing its lot in with Walmart and Gap and refusing to sign the Accord. Incredibly, Walmart and Gap earlier praised the Bangladeshi firm responsible for this disaster as a “top supplier”. These are the blockers who The Bay is standing with.
Until The Bay acts, the Bangladeshi workers who make its clothes will keep dying, as at least ten did today. We can’t let this go on. We cannot stand by. Let’s make sure that The Bay and the media hears us loud and clear as this story breaks.
Thanks for all you do,
Angus, Paul, Kaytee, and the team as SumOfUs.org
Bangladesh garment factory fire kills at least 10 people, CBC, 8 October 2013.