Blog: Leonie BarrieBangladesh building disaster

Leonie Barrie | 29 April 2013

A single story dominated the news headlines last week, with Bangladesh's worst-ever industrial accident once again throwing the country's garment manufacturing industry into the glare of the global media spotlight.

At least 380 people are thought to have been killed when an eight-floor building on the outskirts of Dhaka collapsed. The five garment units based there were making clothes for British fashion retailer Primark and Canadian brand Joe Fresh, with Mango, C&A, KiK and Wal-Mart also believed to have links to the factories.

The incident once again draws attention to workplace safety in an industry that has already come in for severe criticism and scrutiny from the international community and buyers. It also comes just five months after a fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory led to the loss of another 112 lives.

In other stories, it emerged that Adidas has agreed to compensate more than 2,500 Indonesian garment workers. The United States Against Sweatshops (USAS) organisation said the German sporting goods company will give former workers at the closed PT Kizone factory a "substantial sum" in severance pay.

And in the same week the European Union (EU) lifted the last of its trade and economic sanctions against Burma/Myanmar, the vice-chair of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association told just-style he welcomed a government initiative to encourage foreign clothing and textile clothing investment in the country.

Peru, meanwhile, hopes to double its textile and apparel exports by 2017 and invest over $60m to promote its key designer brands in international markets. As well as growing its exports abroad, the country is also looking to strike free trade deals with Australia, Brazil and Russia in the near term. 

And apparel and footwear retailer The Jones Group is to close around 170 retail stores, reduce headcount and optimise its wholesale channel as part of a new strategic plan to generate US$40m a year in savings.


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