This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.
| 1 minute read

Bangladeshi workers submit complaint with BAFA

The German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz, the “Act”) is put to its first test. Two NGOs have supported Bangladeshi garment workers in filing a complaint with the German Federal Office of Economic Affairs and Export Control (“BAFA”) concerning the working conditions in factories of Tom Tailor, Amazon and IKEA (see ECCHR report). Since 1 January 2023, these three companies fall within the Act’s scope.

The complaint is based on fact-finding research conducted in March 2023 by the Bangladeshi union National Garments Workers Federation which reportedly revealed safety deficiencies in the factories. According to an NGO involved, the companies’ factories have not been adequately monitored, endangering workplace safety for employees. Reportedly, the companies were repeatedly informed about the risks to health and safety in factories in Bangladesh and other manufacturing countries but have not yet signed the Bangladesh Accord or its successor the International Accord. The NGO further states that by refusing to sign the accord, the companies would deliberately avoid their responsibility to prevent known human rights risks within the textile industry, thereby breaching their due diligence duties under the Act.

The complaint is being lodged 10 years after the collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory in Bangladesh, in which more than 1,100 people died. In the aftermath of the collapse, 1,600 companies have signed the Bangladesh Accord to improve occupational safety and health in Bangladesh.

The complaint evidences that the Act is picking up steam. The BAFA’s reaction to the complaints will be closely monitored by many stakeholders, including both NGOs and companies. While this complaint addresses the textile sector, other sectors will likely experience similar complaints in the future.


business & human rights, germany, blog posts