Toronto – May 3, 2013 – Canada’s leading voice for retail workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada), is offering its condolences to the families of the garment workers who were recently killed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and partnering with Loblaw Companies Limited to lead the effort for a higher standard of scrutiny, accountability and health and safety protections in the global garment industry.
“We join the world in sending our deepest sympathies to the families of the workers lost in this horrendous event,” says Wayne Hanley, the national president of Canada’s largest private-sector union, UFCW Canada, in offering condolences to the families of the 500-plus workers who died on the job when their workplace, Rana Plaza, collapsed on April 24.
“The products made by workers in Rana were handled by UFCW Canada members every day, and we feel an especially strong connection to these workers and their families,” adds Hanley. Thousands of UFCW Canada members work at Loblaws selling many products including Joe Fresh items, which were once made at the Rana Plaza complex.
“Since the tragedy, UFCW Canada has fully mobilized its contacts around the world – and in Bangladesh in particular – to support any and all efforts to assist the families of the killed and injured workers, and to join the global community in calling for immediate measures to prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening again,” says Hanley.
The UFCW is widely seen as a leading force in the global movement for the universal recognition and establishment of labour rights – including fundamental health and safety protections.
“As Canada’s leading voice for retail workers, UFCW Canada is willing to partner with any employer who is sincerely committed to improving the situation in Bangladesh, and we must commend Loblaw for demonstrating leadership and responsibility in the wake of this tragedy by accepting our offer to assist with NGOs, and by promising to improve inspection standards, and to provide badly needed relief to the devastated families,” says Hanley
“We also join a growing number of people throughout Canada – and around the world – in expressing our disappointment with Walmart’s inaction on this very urgent matter,” adds Hanley. To date, Walmart’s primary response to the Rana tragedy has been to make a non-committal statement that it is ‘open’ to improving conditions (as reported in the Huffington Post).
The United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW Canada) is Canada’s largest private-sector union and leading voice for retail workers, representing more than a quarter of a million workers across the country.