Inspections have been completed on more than half of the nearly 700 Bangladesh factories used by members of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety - which is also pledging to help pay the wages for workers at those factories closed for renovation. 

The collective, which includes 26 companies such as The Children’s Place, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Gap and Fruit of the Loom, says workers at garment units that need to shut down while work is carried out will receive payment to cover two months' salaries. The Alliance will bear half of the cost while the factory owners will cover the rest.

The disclosure came as the group revealed it has now trained more than 400,000 factory managers and workers, with plans to swell that number to more than 1m by July.

The training programme drawn up in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster includes equipping management, worker representatives and union members with the skills and tools necessary to better educate the larger workforce on fire and safety issues.

Work is also under way to set up a remediation process offering adequate oversight and advanced technical support to make sure that factories in Bangladesh can achieve the necessary upgrades and improvements.

The Alliance is also set to roll out a worker helpline to 50 factories this month, expanding to 150 by the end of the year.

“As we reflect back on the terrible tragedy that occurred at Rana Plaza last year, we are reminded of what is at stake,” said Ellen Tauscher, independent chair of the Alliance and a former US Congresswoman.

“We remain steadfast in our promise to bring change to the women and men whose livelihood depends on the safety of these factories.”