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Fire safety inspection program for Bangladeshi RMG sector
Mar '12
PVH Corp. announced that it has entered into a Joint Memorandum of Understanding with a group of non-governmental organizations consisting of Clean Clothes Campaign, Worker Rights Consortium, The International Labor Rights Forum, and Maquila Solidarity Network, as well as a group of eight international and Bangladeshi trade unions, regarding fire and building safety in Bangladesh's apparel factories.

The agreement recognizes the need for the Bangladeshi government, the Bangladeshi Ready-Made Garment (RMG) industry, brand owners and retailers, and labor to work together to create a safe and sustainable work environment within the Bangladeshi RMG industry. The agreement establishes a two-year program to be led by a multi-stakeholder task force for the purposes of establishing an in-factory training program; facilitating the creation of factory health and safety committees; reviewing existing building regulations and enforcement; developing a worker complaint process and mechanism for workers to report health and safety risks; and advising a Chief Inspector.

The Chief Inspector will design and implement a fire safety inspection program based on internationally recognized workplace safety standards. The Chief Inspector will also direct and oversee the various other elements of the program.

The program, which will be financed by the participating companies, will go into effect when at least three other well-known international brand owners or retailers sign onto the agreement. PVH has committed up to $1.0 million to underwrite the program.

PVH and the other participating brand owners and retailers will identify the RMG facilities they use in order to implement the various aspects of the program and will also require these facilities to create health and safety committees to reduce illness and injury.

If a facility fails to remediate high safety risks or implement other aspects of the program after efforts of the companies, then, as a last resort, the companies will move production to a qualified, safe facility in Bangladesh. Efforts will be made to protect the workers displaced (if any) as the result of the move of production.

PVH has committed to using good faith efforts to advance the purposes of the agreement on its own if other brand owners and retailers do not join the agreement.

Emanuel Chirico, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PVH, said “We wish to commend Clean Clothes Campaign, Worker Rights Consortium, The International Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network and the international and Bangladeshi unions for their commitment and insight in helping to create this landmark agreement.”

“We hope this agreement will find cooperation from the Bangladesh Manufacturers & Exporters Association, its members and the Bangladeshi Government to put into effect its terms and that it will result in safer factories and establish a benchmark for fire and building safety standards and practices throughout Bangladesh.”

PVH Corp., one of the world's largest apparel companies, owns and markets the iconic Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands worldwide.

Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation

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