Fast Retailing Co Ltd has signed a global safety pact on Bangladesh garment factories after a building collapse in April buried alive more than 1,100 people.
The owner of the Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo joined the ranks of European retailers including Hennes & Mauritz, Tesco and Inditex, which had signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
A spokesman for Fast Retailing said Thursday the company took several months to join the accord because it wanted to thoroughly consider the conditions of the pact.
“Our reason is quite simple – our priority is to work across the industry to improve conditions for the workers in Bangladesh, so we just wanted to join in,” said Aldo Liguori.
Fast Retailing had “confirmed that the European accord effectively ensures the safety of garment workers in Bangladesh and committed to fully back the initiative.”
Fast Retailing did not manufacture its clothes in the Rana Plaza building that caved in on thousands of garment workers but said it has also completed an investigation into its subcontractors’ factories in Bangladesh.
The building collapse in April was the worst disaster in the history of Bangladesh’ garment industry, throwing a fresh spotlight on the shabby conditions of workplaces across the country.
A total of 86 companies from 20 countries have now signed the Europe-led accord.
Several major US companies, such as Wal-mart, Target and Gap, have opted instead to form their own group – the Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative.
Although the US initiative relies more on self-enforcement unlike the more-binding European plan.
by Maesie Bertumen
Photo: Ashiful Haque/Flickr