Protesters from Ethical Work Australia have taken to The Just Group’s Just Jeans Melbourne CBD store today to make a loud statement against the group refusing to sign The Accord on Fire & Building Safety in Bangladesh.
The Accord is a response to the recent tragedy that saw 1100 Bangladeshi factory workers killed in the building collapse, with the contract enforcing minimal international standards on clothing factories.
So far 50 companies have signed The Accord including Kmart, Cotton On, Forever New and Target.
The Just Group which incorporates Just Jeans, Dotti, Jay Jay’s, Peter Alexander, Portmans and Smiggle has resisted signing up saying it has its own set of OHS standards that it upholds.
The protesters have staged a mock evacuation with sirens and emergency response personnel to highlight the risk Bangladeshi workers face in buildings which do not meet fire and building safety standards.
Protest organiser Keelia Fitzpatrick says that this is not good enough.
“The problem [with The Just Group’s own internal policies] is that unlike The Accord, these measures are not transparent or enforceable,” she said.
“Workers die because the buildings in which they work are not safe. Internal ethical standards are well and good but The Accord is the best measure we have to audit buildings and bring them up to scratch,” she said.