Retailers in talks over cash for factory victims

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The Independent Online

Some of the biggest high street clothes retailers have met in Geneva to discuss providing up to €54m (£45m) compensation to the victims of two garment factory disasters in Bangladesh and improving safety.

Primark's owner Associated British Foods was among the nine brands that attended the talks, organised by the International Labour Organisation.

The ILO wants to set up a fund for the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse in April, when 1,129 died, and the fire at the Tazreen factory in November 2012 that killed 112.

"The families and the injured have already waited far too long," said Monika Kemperle, assistant general secretary of the IndustriALL trade union federation that is helping to coordinate the talks.

Primark also said it was concerned about the time the talks were taking, adding it would now pay out a second tranche of emergency aid as a result.

Several leading retailers with links to Bangladesh did not attend, including Wal-Mart and Benetton, Reuters reported. Benetton's chief executive Biagio Chiarolanza said some companies had not joined the talks due to a "lack of clarity" around objectives and it was working directly in Bangladesh to improve conditions.

About 3.6 million people work in Bangladesh's clothing industry, making it the world's second-largest clothing exporter behind China.