Huge pressure is building on CEOs of GAP and H&M to take the lead in cleaning up Bangladesh’s clothing “death shops” with 780,000 people backing Avaaz’s campaign this week urging them to sign a new enforceable fire and building safety agreement for Bangladesh.
This comes as it was confirmed that over 1000 people died in the Rana Plaza disaster and a further 8 people died in a separate clothing factory fire in Dhaka last night.
The major fashion companies who get their clothes made in Bangladesh are now in discussions about new, binding industry-wide building safety standards to replace the patchwork of self-regulated plans that the recent tragedies have shown to be totally inadequate. Industry negotiations with workers on this agreement are due to end on Wednesday 15th May.
Alex Wilks, Campaign Director for Avaaz said:
“These factories aren’t sweatshops, they’re deathshops. Hundreds of women have been crushed to death making our clothes. Now 780,000 people around the world are calling on the CEOs of H&M and GAP to sign the pact to stop more Bangladesh fashion disasters.”
Avaaz’s campaign is being delivered by hard hitting ads calling on the two companies’ CEOs, Karl-Johan Persson and Glenn Murphy, to take personal responsibility for the decision to sign the safety plan. Yesterday, however, the ads were refused by leading Swedish paper Dagens Industri and the industry magazine Women’s Wear Daily. Avaaz is approaching other publications to run similar ads in the coming days.
Avaaz is targeting H&M because they buy clothes from 200 factories in Bangladesh, and GAP source from 50 factories there. Bangladesh is the second biggest garment maker in the world with four million workers. Many of them face chronically unsafe conditions - with blocked or non-existent fire exits and shaky foundations -- on barely subsistence wages.
Two major clothing companies have signed the robust safety agreement, including PVH -- the owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger -- but GAP and H&M have yet to state their positions.
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