In the wake of the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh that has killed more than 1,100 workers, some major retailers — including H&M and Zara’s parent company, Inditex — have signed an agreement mandating better working conditions and safety standards for buildings. A couple weeks ago, author Elizabeth Cline told Terry that this tragedy might be the final straw, that it might actually force companies to sign such an agreement for garment workers. It looks like she was right.
The factory safety agreement calls for independent, rigorous factory safety inspections with public reports and mandatory repairs and renovations underwritten by Western retailers. A legally enforceable contract, it also calls for retailers to stop doing business with any factory that refuses to make necessary safety improvements, and for workers and their unions to have a substantial voice in factory safety.
Cline is the author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Price of Cheap Fashion. She visited clothing manufacturing plants in Bangladesh as part of her research for the book.
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