For developments see May 19, 2013 NY Times article ” H&M Led Labor Breakthrough …”
The recent event in Bangladesh is an unfortunate reminder of the importance of government regulations for working conditions in factories. The collapse of the factory is the latest in a long line of disasters at Bangladeshi factories. Last year, more than 100 people died in a fire at Tazreen Fashions in the Bangladeshi town of Ashulia. M.T. Anderson, earlier this week in an excellent article in the NYTimes, reminded us of the similar tragedies in American garment factories until regulations were enforced.
The collapse of the garment factory in Bangladesh was not given the attention it deserved in the media due the coverage of the domestic Boston Marathon bombings and West, Texas factory explosion. But, it is important to reflect on the calamity that took place in the town of Savar in central Bangladesh where the death toll has now exceeded 500 according to Reuters. Much of the clothing we buy comes from places like Savar, and the conditions for the workers who make that clothing are dangerous and inhumane. We must educate ourselves and show as consumers that we are conscious of the treatment of those who make the products we buy.
Action Needed The Gap and other American stores that buy from Bangladeshi garment factories should be pressured to join the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement to make immediate safety improvements in supplier factories.
Writing to the CEOs of these companies is an effective means for pressuring them into changing their policies on what working conditions they expect from the factories that they buy from. Loblaw (Joe Fresh clothing) and Primark have said they will compensate the victims’ families, (Boston Globe, May 1, 2013) but they, Benetton, Children’s Place, and Mango need to improve worker conditions. Gap products were involved in the earlier fire.
Corporate addresses for these companies:
Primark Stores Limited Primark House 41 West Street Reading Berkshire RG1 1TZ
Childrens Place Corporate Office Headquarters 500 Plaza Drive, Secaucus, NJ 07094 USA
Loblaw Companies Limited, 1 President’s Choice Circle; Brampton, Ontario, Canada L6Y 5S5
Mango Mercaders 9-11 Poligono Industrial Riera de Caldes Apdo de correos 280 Palau Solità i Plegamans Barcelona 08184 Spain
Gap 2 Folsom Street; San Francisco, CA 94105;
Villa Minelli (Benetton); Via Villa Minelli, 131050 Ponzano Veneto; Treviso, Italy
Sheila Decter, Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action