Search ends in Bangladesh garment factory collapse with death toll at 1,127.
The agreement on worker safety and building regulations in Bangladesh intended to prevent disasters like the factory fire in November and the factory collapse earlier this month will be missing one major retailer: Walmart. Even though major names like H&M, Zara, Primark, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and more signed the agreement, Walmart opted out, saying that the deal was “unnecessary to achieve fire and safety goals.” Instead, the retail giant created its own agreement, which it claims goes above and beyond the regulations outlined in the current deal. The difference: Walmart’s manifesto is not legally binding.
Instead, Walmart has agreed its own deal to inspect all 279 factories it uses in Bangladesh within six months, and has promised to publish the findings immediately.
Bosses claim this goes beyond the UNI Global Union and IndustriALL deal, pointing out the agreement requires 65% of inspections instead of 100% inspections taking place and argue its own deal means results are published straight away rather than within 45 days.
However, the Walmart deal is not legally binding, does not require the company to offer financial support for fire and safety regulations or blacklist factories unwilling to comply.
The agreement has been criticised by campaigners as a "business as usual" approach, which fails to address the core problems that led to the Rana Plaza factory collapse.
Sam Maher from Labour Behind the Label, said: "Walmart's so-called new programme is simply more of the same ineffective auditing that failed to prevent the Rana Plaza disaster, or the deaths of 112 workers at Tazreen, who were producing Walmart goods.
How many dead people is a Walmart shirt worth?