The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety or Alliance, a global retialers’ group, revealed that only 24 garment factories (of those inspected) out of nearly700 in Bangladesh meets international safety standards.
In this regard James Moriarty, Executive Director of the Alliance, said, “There is still much to do to meet our five-year goals, but we’ve come a long way towards improving workplace safety in factories, (We) will continue to work with our partners during the next two-and-a-half years to ensure that safe workplaces in the Bangladesh ready-made garment industry become the rule, not the exception.”
The Alliance, a group of 26 major global retailers, mostly North American apparel brands including Walmart, which formed to develop and launch the Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative, was set up after the Rana Plaza mishap, had asked the Bangladesh government to shut down 36 factories after they were found to be structurally unsafe. It had also suspended ties with 77 plants that had failed to address safety concerns. The government has also started reassessing the the compliance aspect of the garment factories across the country.
The Alliance and Accord, another group set up in the aftermath of the disaster, have since pushed through rigorous safety reforms in nearly half of Bangladesh’s 4,500 garment factories with the sole intention of improving conditions for millions of poorly paid workers.
Another group, The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which comprises leading European brands like H&M, Tesco, among others, has also taken an active role in investigating the country’s factories.
As per World Bank’s reports, Bangladesh is the world’s second largest garment exporter to Europe and North America, with exports worth US$26 billion as of last year.