Bangladesh: Latest apparel and textile news & analysis
More than 180 companies have now signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh following the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in Dhaka, which killed more than 1,100 people last year.
A review of the work carried out so far by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety says the group has made "significant and laudable progress" over the past 12 months - but pulls no punches when it comes to the many challenges that still lie ahead.
The group of North American brands and retailers - including Wal-Mart Stores, Gap Inc and VF Corporation - working to improve safety in Bangladesh's ready-made garment factories appears to be sourcing more products from the country as efforts to upgrade the industry take hold. But one year on, progress is "far from over", with the total cost likely to be in the region of $150m and take 12-18 another months to complete.
A growing list of differences appears to be breaking out between groups working to improve factory and building safety for garment workers in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh's share of the US apparel market has been in decline since February this year. But a closer look at the figures shows that while it is holding up in basic men's wear, women's wear fashion is on a downward trajectory.
More work is needed to reform Bangladesh's apparel industry if the country's exports are to grow, a report has found.
The Bangladesh government says it is moving ahead with the recruitment of an additional 200 factory inspectors as a key European meeting took place today (20 October) to review the country's progress in improving labour rights, working conditions and factory safety.
Industrial thread major Coats Plc is planning to open a new state-of-the-art zips factory in Bangladesh to meet growing demand from global brands and retailers sourcing apparel and footwear in the country.
Several events are set to converge on the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka in December, including the Second International Trade Expo for Building and Fire Safety.
The "dramatic" increase in the number of new trade unions in Bangladesh's ready-made garment industry over the last 18 months has also led to calls for greater trust between workers and employers.
The chief executive of H&M, Karl-Johan Persson, has highlighted the need for annual wage revisions in Bangladesh in line with local price inflation.
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh has completed its initial round of inspections of more than 1,100 Accord factories, identifying more than 80,000 safety issues in the process.
The first round of compensation payments to the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse, including the families and dependents of those who were killed in the tragedy.
An investigation is underway after one worker was killed and five injured following a fire at Mega Dyeing Ltd - one of the factories inspected by the Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
Indian fabric makers are seeking to boost their exports to Bangladesh according to exhibitors at a two-day Indian man-made textiles exhibition in Dhaka this week.
The explosive growth of the Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry is more likely to be accompanied by accusations of sweatshop exploitation from labour rights activists than praise for the positive opportunities it brings the sector's largely-women workforce.
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