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Bangladesh: Report alleges Alliance of endorsing garment factories despite safety concerns, Alliance disputes findings

The report titled Dangerous Delays on Worker Safety concludes that Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety is concealing its lack of action and overstating its remediation progress, while retailers are failing to fulfil their commitment to make garment factories safe. The investigation identified 175 factories which supply both Accord and Alliance. It found the Accord inspection report detailed more than half as still not having appropriate fire exits, an approved fire alarm system or as having major structural problems. On the Alliance website, meanwhile, the report states that many of the listed factories are listed as "on track" in remediating safety hazards. The Alliance disputed the report’s findings, saying it relied on inaccurate and outdated information. Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, defended the report’s methodology. While the group has also been critical of Accord factories, Nova said the H&M-led group had moved to address issues more quickly than the Alliance group and credited their greater transparency for the difference.

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22 November 2016

Dangerous Delays on Worker Safety

Author: International Labor Rights Forum, Worker Rights Consortium, Clean Clothes Campaign & Maquila Solidarity Network

Three and a half years after the catastrophic Rana Plaza building collapse, major apparel brands and retailers that are part of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety including Gap Inc., Target, VF Corporation, Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), and Walmart1 are failing to fulfill their commitments to make their supplier factories safe, leaving hundreds of thousands workers at risk. Rather than hold member companies accountable, the Alliance is concealing their lack of action by refusing to publish detailed information on factory progress and by reporting some factories as “On Track” on safety renovations when, in fact, they have failed to implement key renovations by mandated deadlines. 

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21 November 2016

Alliance's response to the report

Author: The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety

"Alliance Continues To Improve Safety in Bangladesh Garment Industry", 22 November 2016

It is important to note that the factories highlighted in the report are those producing products for both Alliance and Accord brands...There is no doubt that the Alliance has had a transformative impact in strengthening the structural integrity of Bangladeshi factories where millions of women and men make a living each day. We have proven this strong commitment to improving workplace safety in Bangladesh’s garment industry through concrete actions and results...The Alliance stands by its progress, which is validated by an accomplished team of on-the-ground engineers and professional staff, and we remain committed to our mission of creating a safer environment for the millions of workers that make a living in Bangladeshi factories. Together, the Alliance, the Accord, and the Government of Bangladesh, as well as NGO and advocacy stakeholders, must all work together to ensure the safety of Bangladeshi workers. Discriminating between initiatives to create misleading narratives will only serve to undermine our collective effort to improve worker safety.”

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21 November 2016

Retail group approves Bangladesh factories as safety concerns persist, report finds

Author: Dominic Rushe, Guardian [USA]

An organisation backed by global retailers including Gap, Target and Walmart is giving passing grades to Bangladeshi factories that have yet to implement life-saving safety changes the retailers pledged to put in place following a deadly building collapse in 2013 that killed 1,137 people, according to a new report...The report concludes that in some cases, once firm deadlines for repairs and improvements set for 2014 and 2015 were scrapped to be replaced with a 2018 deadline that coincides with the end of the Alliance arrangement...The Alliance disputed the report’s findings, saying it relied on inaccurate and outdated information. James Moriarty, country director for the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, said he was “totally confident” that the factories would meet retailers’ standards by 2018, when the agreement ends.

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