Progress in Bangladesh garment industry
Two clothes manufacturers, H&M and Inditex (Zara), have signed up to a set of legally binding health and safety laws in Bangladesh following last month's building collapse that killed over 1000 people.
The two companies agreed to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety after pressure from Bangladeshi unions and Eurpean campaigners.
Until recently only two other clothing companies had agreed to sign the document, PVH (Calvin Klein/Tommy Hilfiger) and Tchibo, despite many western brands using Bangladeshi factories.
Ineke Zeldenrust from the Clean Clothes Campaign says, "We now call upon all major brands sourcing from Bangladesh to prevent any more deaths and sign this agreement before the deadline of the 15th. With 1,250 workers killed in the last six months in Bangladesh, it is now time for companies to move beyond vague promises, business-as-usual self-regulatory schemes and rhetoric, and to sign a binding safety agreement that can finally bring an end to the horror in Bangladesh."
The news follows confirmation that the Bangladesh's government has backed down and will allow the country's garment workers to form trade unions without prior permission and announced plans to raise the minimum wage for garment workers following three weeks of protest in the wake of the building collapse.
Minimum wages for garment workers were last raised by 80 per cent to 3,000 takas ($38) a month in 2010 following protests by workers.
Bangladesh is the third-biggest exporter of clothes in the world, after China and Italy. There are 5,000 factories in the country and 3.6 million garment workers.
Since 2005, at least 1,800 garment workers have been killed in factory fires and building collapses in Bangladesh, according to research by the advocacy group International Labour Rights Forum.
Read more about the clothes industry in our guides to high street clothes shops and alternative clothes retailers.
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