OECD Work on Global Value Chains should Draw Lessons from Worst Industrial Accident in Bangladesh, on the Eve of International Workers’ Memorial Day

26/04/2013

The OECD must play its role in preventing these tragic and wholly avoidable accidents in Bangladesh by reflecting the lessons in its policy work on Global Value Chains” said John Evans, TUAC General Secretary.

Bangladesh’s worst industrial accident to date on April 24th has resulted in the deaths of more than 200 garment workers, with the possibility of this figure rising to up to 1,000 as many hundreds of workers remain injured and trapped in the rubble, according to IndustriALL, the Global Union Federation representing workers in the garment industry. The tragic incident occurred just days before the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers, part of a global union campaign for improved working conditions.

TUAC understands that the OECD’s work surrounding Global Value Chains is centred around deepening understanding of job creation, income distribution, and the types of employment that are being generated.

The appalling working conditions for workers in Bangladesh highlight the urgent need for OECD policy work in this area to address working conditions, health and safety, and the role of trade unions.

Moreover, under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNEs), the OECD’s flagship instrument on responsible business conduct, the brands have a responsibility to avoid being involved in health and safety accidents in their supply chain. More than merely spreading ideas on responsible business conduct, they are expected to undertake due diligence and to take action when such accidents occur, including providing remedy to workers and using their considerable leverage with suppliers to change conditions on-the-ground. TUAC urges the OECD to integrate this responsibility of MNEs into its work on Global Value Chains.