The new accord between retailers and unions on worker safety clearly represents progress. Particularly because it involves unions directly. But it also raises big questions on how far there is to go.
Firstly, of course, how many retailers will actually sign up to it? That has been the media focus so far. But then, what about countries other than Bangladesh? What about Vietnam, Turkey – or even the UK?
And the focus of the accord is on textiles and garment manufacture. Beyond that there are health and safety concerns in many other sectors also.
And of course the big omission is pay. Given the assessment that doubling the wages of workers would add only 2p to the price of a T-shirt, isn’t it time that retailers took their responsibilities more seriously? Perhaps it is even time to consider in-sourcing?