WASHINGTON — The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety said Friday that four of five garment factories it recommended for immediate closure and remediation have been shut down by the Bangladeshi government because of serious building and fire safety issues.
An alliance spokesman, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that four factories have been closed and that a fifth factory will be inspected over the weekend.
The alliance, which includes Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Gap Inc., VF Corp. and Target Corp., said it will compensate 350 workers who will be temporarily laid off while the factory owners work to remediate the problems.
The alliance can only make recommendations to suspend operations of a factory and close it for remediation to a National Tripartite Committee Review panel. The review panel then makes a recommendation to the Bangladeshi Minister of Labor, which has the ultimate authority to close a factory, the spokesman said.
The tripartite committee is slated to make a site visit to the fifth garment factory this weekend and will issue a decision “shortly,” he added.
Inspections of the five garment factories turned up structural faults in the four buildings they are housed in, as well as “overloaded conditions…raising immediate concern for the safety of workers in these factories,” the alliance said.
The group said it will work in partnership with BRAC, a global development organization, to disperse funds directly to the workers displaced by the closure of the five factories. It will draw the money from a $5 million worker-safety fund that the companies set up at the launch of the initiative, following two factory and building tragedies in Bangladesh that claimed the lives of more than 1,240 workers in the past 18 months. The fund will help pay the workers’ salaries for two months, in partnership with factory owners.
“While no one wants to see employees out of work as a result of a factory closure, ensuring that immediate safety issues are addressed is our top priority,” said Ellen Tauscher, the alliance’s independent chair. “No factory worker should have to put themselves at risk to earn a living, and we’re working to make sure that is a reality in Bangladesh.”
Brands and retailers have agreed to funding and conducting the inspections and assisting in covering the salaries of displaced workers. Factory owners also have access to $100 million in capital to help finance the cost of factory improvements through the alliance.
The alliance said it has inspected 450 of the 650 garment factories its 26 member retailers and brands use in Bangladesh. Its goal is to complete inspections of all of the factories by July.
In separate news, the alliance said the government of Bangladesh has agreed to allow duty-free imports of fire and safety equipment into the country, following pressure from alliance members and six major trade associations calling for the elimination of the high duties.
In a letter to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the six industry groups said the high duties on safety-equipment imports made the difficult task of remediating unsafe factories “next to impossible.”
The Bangladesh government has agreed to eliminate duties on fire doors, which can be as high as 61.09 percent, and on sprinkler systems, which reach as high as 31.07 percent.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office also said the Bangladeshi government revealed it is eliminating the tariffs at the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Bangladesh Forum on Trade and Investment in Dhaka earlier this week.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye