Wal-Mart and Gap Refuse to Sign Agreement Protecting Workers in Bangladesh
Following the deadliest accident in the history of the global garment industry, more than 70 retailers and clothing brands have pledged to improve safety conditions in Bangladesh’s textile factories.
But two leading U.S. companies—Walmart and Gap—have refused to sign the agreement that was prompted by the April 24 tragedy that killed 1,127 garment workers inside Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza, which collapsed.
Dozens of European and American companies signed the “Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh,” including PUMA, Abercrombie & Fitch, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and PVH, which owns the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands.
So far, Walmart and Gap have not signed the pledge, which is binding for five years and will lead to building inspections to identify safety hazards. Any necessary repairs must be completed within nine months, under the accord.
The pledge “represents a new era of collaboration and sincere efforts to make the Bangladeshi garment industry safe and sustainable through comprehensive inspections, repairs of factories, training and involvement of workers,” according to IndustriALL, a Swiss-based labor organization.
Both Walmart and Gap say that they are developing their own safety programs for Bangladesh and nations that produce their goods.
To Learn More:
Bangladesh Safety Accord Implementation – Moving Forward (IndustriALL)
Even After One of Worst Worker Atrocities in Human History, Gap & Walmart Won't Get Serious About Preventing Another (by Jake Blumgart, AlterNet)
Top Retailers, Unions to Inspect Bangladesh Factories (by Shafiqul Alam, Agence France-Presse)
Hundreds Die While Making Clothes for J.C. Penney, Benetton and others in Bangladesh (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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