70 international retailers agree to safety inspections at garment factories in Bangladesh

Move comes after devastating building collapse that killed more than 1,100 people in April

A group of 70 international retailers has agreed a programme of safety inspections at garment factories in Bangladesh in the wake of a devastating building collapse that killed more than 1,100 people in April.

Details of factories used by the brands, including Primark and H&M, will be collected by next Monday and an initial inspection programme to identify grave hazards and the need for urgent repairs completed in nine months.

In the meantime any immediate threats identified by other inspections or workers will result in factories being shut down though employees will continue to be paid, according to the accord.

The contract has been agreed between retailers, international and local trade unions and non-governmental organisations.

It was put in place after the collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza building in April, a catastrophe that focused world attention on safety standards at Bangladesh's garment export industry, which supplies clothes for some of the world's best-known retailers.

Primark has announced compensation for victims and their families. Some of those injured and killed in the incident in Dhaka worked for a company that supplied the brand.

Other retailers that have signed up to the new agreement include Debenhams, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Mothercare, N Brown, New Look, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

Its aim is to move quickly to reduce severe hazards facing workers in factories covered by the accord, with plans for renovations and repairs put in place following inspections.

“These will focus on those issues that pose grave and immediate risks to workers, in particular inadequate emergency infrastructure and procedures (eg fire exits, fire training and evacuation) and fundamental flaws that could lead to a partial or total structural failure of a factory building,” said the committee overseeing the programme.

“In the interim period, while details are being finalised and the inspectorate is being built, an emergency protocol will ensure swift action to protect workers at any factory where existing inspection programmes or worker reports identify an immediate threat to life and limb.”

In such cases, signatory companies will be notified and factory owners ordered to shut down operations pending investigation and repair, while workers will be informed of potential dangers and their right to refuse to enter a potentially unsafe building.

“A viable plan with renovations and repairs undertaken to address the hazards will be produced and workers will be paid while the factory remains closed,” the announcement said.

Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL, a global union federation which has played a key role in creating the agreement, said: “Our mission is clear: to ensure the safety of all workers in the Bangladesh garment industry.

“The direct involvement of workers in the factories is key to the success of this programme.”

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there