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Retailers seek transparency in “Safe Factories Initiative”

May 18, 2013 (United States Of America)

The North American Bangladesh Worker Safety Working Group, a collaboration of six leading U.S. and Canadian apparel and retail trade associations, sent a letter to the Prime Minster of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wazed regarding the serious worker safety issues in Bangladesh.

The letter, which included an attachment outlining specific requests on behalf of North American buyers, was hand-delivered to Bangladesh Labor Secretary Mr. Mikail Shipar during a meeting in Washington, D.C. between the secretaries and the working group.

“We ask for your assurances that these positive steps will be part of an ongoing and sustained enforcement effort by the Bangladesh government,” the letter said, referring to steps the Bangladesh government has already taken in response to the recent tragedies in the region.

“We also ask for your commitment for a transparent process of engagement between the Bangladesh government and our associations through the Safer Factories Initiative, including a list of inspected and closed factories and the results of the inspections.”

“Today’s productive meeting with key Bangladeshi officials is one more step in the process of our serious commitment to improve worker safety in Bangladesh,” said AAFA Vice President of International Trade Nate Herman. “We appreciate the open and on going conversation between North American buyers and Bangladeshi officials as we work together in achieving an effective and sustainable solution.”

Background

Formed in January 2013, the North American Bangladesh Worker Safety Working Group is comprised of the six leading apparel and retail trade associations in the United States and Canada: the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), Canadian Apparel Federation (CAF), National Retail Federation (NRF), Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and the United States Association of Importers of Textile and Apparel (USA-ITA).


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