Global retailers ‘extend garment worker safety pact’

Retailers from around the world have agreed on a two-year safety pact with garment workers and factory owners in Bangladesh.

The move, first reported by Reuters, extends a pre-existing deal that makes retailers liable to take legal action if the factories serving them do not meet labour safety standards.

"This is a legally binding agreement between companies and trade unions to make ready-made garment (RMG) and textile factories safe," said a statement seen by the news agency.

The document, which was signed by the agreement’s deputy director Joris Oldenziel, representatives for UNI Global Union, and IndustrialALL Global Union, continued: "The renewed agreement advances the fundamental elements that made the accord successful."

The existing deal was due to finish on 31 August.

The new agreement is set to launch on 1st September and will be renamed the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry.

Around 200 retailers signed the pact when it was first launched in 2013, including H&M, Inditex, Uniqlo, Hugo Boss, and adidas.

Reuters sources said that a list of companies that have signed up to the extension will be made available when the agreement goes live in September.

The original five-year long deal followed the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, which reportedly killed over 1,100 people.

The agreement set up an independent body that carried out inspections and banned unsafe factories from serving retailers that had signed the deal.

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