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Clothing brands sign up to new accord on building safety in Bangladesh

Primark, H&M, Zara and C&A have all adopted the accord, written up in the wake of the building collapse last month.

Bangladeshi rescuers use heavy machinery to clear rubble of a garment factory building that collapsed on April 24.
Bangladeshi rescuers use heavy machinery to clear rubble of a garment factory building that collapsed on April 24.
Image: A.M. Ahad/AP

SEVERAL MAJOR INTERNATIONAL clothing brands have signed an accord with two global trade unions, committing to improved fire and building standards in Bangladesh.

The accord, reached with the IndustriALL and UNI global unions, comes three weeks after the collapse of a nine-storey garment factory in which over 1,000 people were killed.

Primark, H&M, C&A and Inditex – the latter being the corporate owner of the Zara chain – have all committed to signing the accord after it is finally published tomorrow.

The unions said the adoption of the new accord – which will be legally binding between all signatories – needs to be universal if a repeat of last month’s tragedy at the Rana Plaza complex is to be avoided.

The deal included independent safety inspections of any garment factories, with the subsequent reports to be made freely available online. It would also include mandatory repairs and renovations wherever needed.

It is expected to take effect later this year, and remain in place for an initial five-year term.

H&M described the accord as a “pragmatic step towards addressing improved fire and building safety” in the ready-made garment industry, while Primark said it believed a collaborative approach was the best chance to bring bout a lasting change in the industry.

Read: Bangladesh disaster ‘could happen again’ – but can we help?

Poll: Will the Bangladesh factory collapse change the way you shop?

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Gavan Reilly

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