The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is working to develop a common approach to address fire and building safety in the garment sector in Bangladesh after a building collapsed last week killing more than 400 people.

The ETI, an alliance of retailers, trade unions, charities and campaign groups which sets out basic rights for workers across the supply chain, says it will support the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Bangladesh by bringing together local stakeholders to implement the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety (NAP).

Talks on the fire action plan for the reday-made garment (RMG) sector in Bangladesh began in January, following a fire at the Tazreen Fashion Factory in November last year, which killed 112 people.

The ETI said it is working to make its support for the NAP "explicitly clear", with the efforts of all projects, programmes, business fire and building safety activity linked to or complementing the plan.

It is also continuing to push for factory improvement across infrastructure, policy, systems and processes, as well as skills and competencies, to meet an agreed minimum standard of fire and building safety for factories in the sector.

The ETI is strengthening the mandated Health and Safety Committees in all factories in which improvements are being made, to promote "meaningful dialogue between genuine worker representatives and management, in support of greatly improved fire and building safety."

ETI director Peter McAllister said: "Bangladesh is a key sourcing country for a significant number of our garment sector members, which have strong and long-standing relationships with this country.

"Together with our company, trade union and NGO members, we are committed to driving real, sustainable change for workers by tackling the chronic, widespread health and safety issues that plague Bangladesh's garment sector."

The Ethical Trading Initiative is also working with a number of international agencies, brands and trade unions to finalise an agreement on fire and building safety, which will be announced after 15 May.

The agreement also involves the involvement of the ILO and the IndustriAll global union, and will include principles on governance, inspections, remediation, training, a complaints process, transparency and reporting, supplier incentives, financial support and dispute resolution.