UPDATE (27 September 2013) - After over 15,000 of us spoke out, River Island announced that they would be signing the Bangladesh Safety Accord, protecting Bangladeshi workers from unsafe conditions. This was a direct response to our pressure -- it's a huge victory for people power!
This image isn’t easy to look at. This truly heartbreaking scene took place after the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in Bangladesh less than 6 months ago, in which over 1200 people died.
But here’s the thing: These kinds of tragedies could be prevented. The Bangladesh Fire & Safety Accord would require companies to help prevent tragedies like Rana Plaza. After the collapse, nearly all the big UK clothing brands signed on -- except River Island.
While other retailers have been stepping up and doing the right thing, River Island has been keeping a low profile. The company is probably hoping that if it keeps its head down and mouth shut, then it can carry on business as usual.
If River Island -- a major presence on high streets across the country -- signs, it'll show other major retailers that they can't stand by and hope their workers don't die in tragic building collapses. But River Island won't act on its own, so it's up to us to make the case that it has a responsibility to join dozens of other major brands and protect its workers from dangerous factories.
Tell River Island to protect workers from dangerous death traps and sign the Bangladesh Safety Accord.
The legally-binding five-year agreement will see factories undergo safety inspections, mandatory repairs and renovations and an obligation to pay for any safety upgrades. It will only add pennies on to the cost of producing a T-shirt. But yet, it appears that River Island is more concerned with its profit margins than with stopping people from dying in factory death traps.
For months, hundreds of thousands of us have joined a global call to demand that companies pay a few pennies more per garment to make sure their workers weren’t dying. We’ve called customer service and talked to local store managers, and thousands of us have posted impassioned messages on the Facebook walls of companies like Gap and Walmart that are refusing to put their workers’ lives before their obscene profits. As a result, dozens of companies have responded to the global outcry after the Rana Plaza disaster and signed the Accord -- but some companies, including River Island, are holding out.
If there is something collectively we should do as the SumOfUs community, it is this. Together, we can make River Island take action.
Tell River Island to sign the Bangladesh Safety Accord -- NOW
Bangladesh factory collapse toll passes 1,000, BBC News Online, May 13 2013
Top fashion retailers fail to sign Bangladesh safety accord, The Guardian, 14 May 2013.