Three years ago on April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed killing over 1,100 workers. Immediately CUPE reached out to the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity to find out what we could do in solidarity with the workers and their families.
CUPE began a solidarity campaign with the Centre. The Centre was founded in 2001 by garment workers who were organizing for better working conditions, wages and labour rights in factories sourced by some of the richest corporations in the world.
In the following months, we learned that major global brands were sourcing from Rana Plaza including the Canadian brand Joe Fresh. We were stunned to learn that some of the richest corporations in the world were refusing to compensate the victims and their families for their injuries. We joined the global campaign to hold these corporations accountable.
We also learned about the formation of the Accord on Fire and Safety in Bangladesh, which is an independent, legally binding agreement between brands and trade unions to ensure factories are safe and workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. CUPE is supporting the efforts of remarkable workers who are organizing in the face of intimidation, harassment and outright violence.
In February 2016, CUPE, with the USW, PSAC, UNIFOR and the CLC, met with the representatives in Bangladesh, and continue our solidarity work with the Centre.