Retailers Sign Bangladeshi Worker Safety Agreement

In the aftermath of the Bangladesh garment factory building collapse, killing more than 1,100, global retail companies have signed an agreement to improve safety.

Six major global retailers have signed an agreement to improve working conditions after more than 1,100 employees were killed in a factory building collapse April 24. Carrefour, Marks & Spencer, El Corte Inglés, H&M and Inditex will sign the accord with other labor groups and worker advocates to require companies to pay for improvements in fire and building safety.

In addition to these companies, PHV, the parent company of Tommy Hilfiger, was the first to sign the agreement last year. These companies are now putting pressure on Walmart, Gap, and additional retailers to join with the accord, as well.

H&M, with 200 stores in the U.S. alone, produces more than $1 billion worth of apparel in Bangladesh each year. Inditex, selling under the brand Zara, is the world’s largest clothing companies. Neither of these companies was producing products out of the collapsed factory.

The agreement will require companies employing works in Bangladesh to fund renovations and repairs to buildings deemed dangerous. Companies will also be obligated to end business with factories that will not comply with safety renovations. 

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