Public action needed to protect workers in the garment industry | National Union of Public and General Employees

Public action needed to protect workers in the garment industry

Your action can help make a difference for garment workers everywhere.

Ottawa (30 April 2013) – In the aftermath of the devastating building collapse in Bangladesh in which 400 people died and many more were injured, people around the world are looking for ways to take action or show their support to ensure a tragedy like this is never repeated.

Everyone has a role to play in creating safer environments for workers: governments, retailers, apparel brands, consumers and investors.

Canadian Labour Congress demands action

The Canadian Labour Congress is calling on the Retail Council of Canada and its member retailer to become signatories to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement. This document is a binding agreement in which retailers ensure:

  • there is rigorous and independent third party factory inspections
  • transparency and oversight of their overseas suppliers and
  • that workers and their organizations are an integral part of the solution.

The CLC is demanding the Department of Foreign Affairs review the promotion of its Corporate Social Responsibility Program to develop strong and binding compliance mechanisms on all foreign companies exporting goods into Canada, including rigours independent factory inspections, and a system of certification so that consumers in Canada have the information they need and want to make informed choices when they shop.

Labour rights are human rights

The Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights has been working with Canadians and the international community to recognize that labour rights are human rights. The right to legally organize to have a voice in the workplace is a fundamental right that many around the world still do not have. Even where laws exist to protect workers from injury and exploitation, the lack of enforcement allows workers to be abused. But by speaking out, you can make a difference.

International campaigns

IndustriALL Global Union and IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, through LabourStart campaign, are demanding that the government of Bangladesh reform its labour laws to remove roadblocks to freedom of association and collective bargaining in the garment industry. Add your support to this important campaign.

The International Labor Rights Forum is also calling on Walmart, H&M, and Gap to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement before the next factory fire or building collapse takes the lives of more garment workers. Please send a message to three of the largest buyers of apparel from Bangladesh.

More information:

Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE