Bangladesh Factory Toll Passes 800

from The Wall Street Journal..


Government Shuts 18 Sites for Safety Improvements, but No Big Outflow of U.S. Companies Seen

DHAKA, Bangladesh—The death toll from a garment-factory building collapse last month surpassed 800 Wednesday, as the government forced 18 factories to shut down temporarily for safety improvements.

Two weeks after the collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza building, the disaster is turning out to be one of the worst industrial accidents ever, putting enormous pressure on the government to act to improve safety standards or risk losing Western customers.

So far, none of the 70 retailers and apparel manufacturers that participated in a conference call organized by U.S. officials Wednesday said they were scaling back production in Bangladesh, according to a person who was on the call.

Among other issues discussed was the status of a review by the U.S. government into whether Bangladesh should retain its preferential tax treatment, according to this person.


Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 12.39.07 PM

Garment workers who survived the collapse lined up to collect their salaries. / European Pressphoto Agency

The workers, many of whom made little more than the national minimum wage of about $38 per month, are demanding at least four months’ salary, AP reported.


The country’s $20 billion-a-year garment industry is one of the world’s largest exporters of cheap clothing for global brands. Retailers includingLoblaw Cos L.T +0.24% . of Canada, Italy’s Benetton Group SpA and Spanish fast-fashion retailer Mango MNG Holding SL had used the factories in the building.

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