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American Shipper

Group makes progress on Bangladesh worker safety

   Bangladesh workers safety groups have come to agreement on criteria for fire and safety inspections in Asian garment factories, a course of action first proposed in September that was prodded on by public outcry after garment fires earlier this year devastated the region.
   The groups, under a common alliance, also agreed on new methods for supplier disclosure and the expansion of the alliance meetings in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  
   The International Labour Organization, the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the Accord on Fire and Building Safety all participated in creating the new guidelines.
   The alliance includes factories that supply Walmart, Gap and other large retailers,
according to reports. More than 680 factories and 26 companies are part
of the alliance.
   “I am encouraged by the progress made in Dhaka this month in the effort to establish harmonized safety standards for the garment industry,” said Jeffrey Krilla, president of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. “The challenges in Bangladesh are many and complex, and the solution requires collaboration across all interested parties. I am proud of the role the alliance played in setting the foundation for harmonized standards and look forward to shifting our focus to implementation.”
   On Nov. 18, the ILO published “Bangladesh: Seeking better employment conditions for better socioeconomic outcomes,” which found that unregulated growth contributed to the challenges in the garment industry, which represented a 4.8-percent piece of the global market in 2011, up from a 0.6-percent share in 1990.

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