Protesters storm The Bay in Vancouver over factory workers' rights
Dozens of protesters calling on The Bay to protect factory workers snaked their way through the store’s flagship location in Vancouver Monday, yelling "Sign the Accord" as they marched through the department store.
The demonstrators, which include garment factory workers and members of the B.C. Federation of Labour, want The Bay and its chain of stores to sign The Bangladesh Accord -- which promises independent safety inspections, public reports on factory conditions and that companies will cover the cost of needed repairs.
Up to 100 people rallied outside of the downtown Vancouver store before making their way inside. Staff shut down an escalator in the centre of the ground floor after protesters started using it to make their way onto upper floors.
CTV B.C. reporter Jon Woodward said police were present but didn’t step in. There were no incidents reported – and demonstrators left the building peacefully.
More than 1,100 factory workers were killed in Bangladesh after a building collapse back in April.
The B.C. Federation of Labour says more than 110 companies from around the world have already signed on to the Bangladesh Accord, including H&M and Loblaw’s. Now they say they want to see The Bay do the same.
The Hudson’s Bay Company declined an on-camera interview, but in a statement said: “HBC is committed to continuing to work to improve safety conditions in Bangladesh through our membership in the Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety.”
That membership is a group founded by North American companies that has its own safety initiative plan, but the B.C. Federation of Labour says that’s not good enough.