Europe agrees Bangladesh safety move but US opts out
Monday 08 July 2013
Primark, H&M and Zara owner Inditex are among 70 European retail and clothing giants which today agreed to improve safety standards in Bangladesh in the wake of a factory collapse that killed more than 1100 people.
However, a string of major American firms including Gap, Wal-Mart, Macy’s and JC Penney have refused to sign up, claiming that the deal gives too much power to local unions.
Western retailers have been under pressure to raise health and safety standards after disaster struck in April at the Rana Plaza garment factory when the building, which was built on swampy ground outside the capital Dhaka, collapsed.
European Union officials, who were set to meet Bangladeshi representatives today in Geneva, have threatened to suspend some of the South-east Asian country’s trade benefits unless the problems are tackled.
Ahead of that meeting, 70 retailers have agreed with unions to carry out co-ordinated inspections of factories across Bangladesh over the next nine months, with a focus on fire, electrical, structural and worker safety standards.
The legally binding deal, which comes into effect from today, will mean factories will have to repair any flawed buildings and set up a system so that workers can report any concerns. The Western clothing brands have also agreed to provide full details of the Bangladesh factories from which they source goods. They claim that it is the first time such data will be collected or shared in such a comprehensive way.
Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarkets chain, and Primark have reportedly stopped sourcing some clothes from one Bangladeshi site because of safety concerns. About 3.6 million people work in Bangladesh’s clothing sector, making the country the second- largest exporter in the world after China.
The industry employs mostly women, some of whom earn as little as $38 (£25) a month, according to Reuters. About 60% of the clothes that are made in Bangladesh are sold to Europe.
- 1 Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
- 2 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 3 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 4 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 5 David De Gea to Real Madrid: Real finally get their man with £29m bid for Manchester United goalkeeper
Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Turkey duped the US, and Isis reaps rewards
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...