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Buyers get tough with errant factories in Bangladesh

Global buyers have cut business relations with 55 readymade garment factories in Bangladesh due to noncompliance. The American group Alliance has suspended business relations with 42 factories. The European retailers’ group Accord has terminated business relations with 13 factories.

These factories have failed to make adequate remediation progress and provide evidence of remediation. Some factories have failed to attend a remediation escalation roundtable and some have failed to provide evidence to comply with the procedures for ensuring a safe working environment.

After the Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, in April 2013, North American retailers, including top brands Walmart and Gap, formed the Alliance, and European retailers formed the Accord, undertaking a five-year plan which set timelines and accountability for inspections and training and workers’ empowerment programs.

The Alliance has so far inspected 870 factories while Accord inspected more than 1,600 factories. During inspections both Alliance and Accord found serious structural faults in 106 factories and sent the list of the units to the government-set review committee suggesting immediate evacuation.

Out of 106 factories 35 were closed as per recommendations. Suspended factories wishing to get back into the fold have to undergo a new inspection at their own cost.