Bangladesh: Latest apparel and textile news & analysis
More than 170 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.
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.
Tau Investment Management, the US private investment firm that is looking to drive capital into textile and garment factories to improve their competitiveness and de-risk supply chains, has told just-style it is moving swiftly towards its first investments - which are expected in the second half of 2014.
A decision by the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh to reject inspection reports produced by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety for some factories shared by the two groups has been described as a "setback" for garment factory safety efforts in the country.
A project is underway in Bangladesh designed to increase union membership and promote a constructive dialogue with employers.
The boss of the Tuba Group is seeking a BDT300m (US$3.88m) government loan to reopen his five apparel factories, which were forced to suspend production earlier this month after workers went on strike.
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh has said it will not accept inspection reports produced under the direction of third party auditors of the Alliance, and will inspect the factories themselves.
A case has been filed against Newtech Apparels for violating the law over what the The Accord claims are "critical findings" from a structural inspection it carried out on its complex in June.
Apparel giant VF Corp has pledged to spend at least US$17m, in the near term, to improve working conditions in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh's woven garment exports fell by 4.14% in July amid a slowdown in shipments of apparel to markets such as the US following ongoing factory safety issues.
Production remains suspended at the Tuba Group's five factories, where around 1,600 workers earlier this month embarked on a ten-day hunger strike to demand three months' worth of unpaid wages and benefits.
Threats of a nationwide strike at clothing factories across Bangladesh appear to have abated after protesting garment workers accepted an offer to pay them two-months of back wages.
Around 1,600 Bangladeshi garment workers on hunger strike for the past ten days have called for a nationwide strike at clothing factories across the country from Saturday (9 August) if outstanding salaries and bonuses are not paid.
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