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Western companies suspend business with 103 Bangladesh apparel factories

According to industry sources, at least 218 western apparel companies have stopped buying cloths from about 103 Bangladesh garment factories after they failed to initiate workplace safety codes suggested by the Accord and Alliance.

Among the factories, 23 were supplying apparels to European fashion brands and 80 to North American buyers and retailers which are belonging to the Accord and Alliance.Terming the decision a 'harsh' one, industry leaders said that the move has forced the factories to wrap up production leading to jobless hundreds of workers.

The Accord and Alliance supported by European clothing brands and North American retail chains has been launching a joint effort to improve workplace safety in Bangladesh garment industries in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza factory collapse on April 24 in 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people.

Responding to the development, said Faruque Hassan, Senior Vice-President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) that it is a worrying development when the local industry has initiated a major safety overhaul as per the suggestions from the global buyers. He said, most of the export-oriented apparel factories inspected by the inspectors from the Accord and Alliance have already initiated the task of workplace safety and rest of the factories will go with them soon.