Garment makers hail safety deal in Dhaka

Garment makers hail safety deal in Dhaka

DHAKA - Agence France-Presse
Garment makers hail safety deal in Dhaka

A Bangladeshi rescuer stands amid the ruins of a collapsed factory building. Garment manufacturers hail a deal to make the country’s factories safer. AP photo

Bangladeshi garment manufacturers yesterday hailed an agreement by top retailers to make the country’s factories safer, saying it reflected their long-term commitment to improving working conditions.

The retailers made the pledge following one of the world’s worst industrial disasters in which 1,127 people died, most of them female garment workers, when a nine-storey factory complex collapsed outside Dhaka on April 24. Global high street brands including Benetton, Carrefour and Marks & Spencer on May 14 joined clothing giants Inditex of Spain and H&M of Sweden to sign up to the accord on fire and building safety.

“We welcome this agreement. Obviously it’s a very good thing for all of us,” said Atiqul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association which represents 4,500 apparel factories.

“If they come forward and help repair, retro-fit or strengthen our factories it’s good for all of us. It’s a reflection of their long-term commitment to Bangladesh and that they are our partners,” Islam said. “We’ve asked them not to leave us. Let’s work together. We told them that we want to take lessons from the Rana Plaza tragedy. We welcome their positive move,” Islam said.

The agreement, due to be formally signed in the coming days, commits retailers to paying for factory repairs and ensuring an efficient system for building and fire safety inspections.