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Bangladesh Garment Factories: Alliance For Bangladesh Worker Safety Report Claims 'Transformation' In Working ConditionsFriday, March 13, 2015 > 08:59:59
(International Business Times)
Voluntary changes from global retailers have transformed Bangladesh’s garment industry for the better, according to a report released Monday by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, but critics are skeptical. The alliance, which includes companies like Walmart, Gap and Target, was formed to improve safety conditions at garment factories in the aftermath of the April 2013 disaster at Rana Plaza, where more than 1,100 workers died in a building collapse.
“The [ready-made garment] industry will be forever changed by the developments in Bangladesh,” reads the alliance report. It cites a recent wave of factory inspections, ongoing efforts to improve conditions at unsafe factories and the launch of an initiative that provides low-cost loans to factories in order to reduce the cost of remediation.
Critics say the report lacks transparency and is short on specifics.
“This is a public relations exercise,” said Brian Finnegan, global worker rights coordinator at the AFL-CIO. “Who’s verifying the contents of these reports other than the companies?”
The AFL-CIO supports a separate initiative aimed at improving working conditions -- the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety. Unlike the alliance, the accord involves participation from labor unions, including workers’ groups in Bangladesh.