WASHINGTON — The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety said it has suspended operations at eight more factories within the past month, which it said failed to make progress on remediation.
But four new factories made significant progress on remediation and successfully “completed all material components outlined in their corrective action plans,” the Alliance said.
“We commend Park (Bangladesh) Company, Olio Apparels, Fountain Garments Manufacturing and Unitex International for their commitment to making their factories models of worker safety,” said Alliance Country Director Jim Moriarty. “Conversely, our suspension of [eight] new factories demonstrates that those unwilling or unable to address critical safety issues will no longer be welcome as partners in our supply chain.”
Six companies were suspended for either failing to submit design documents or failing to provide evidence of remediation, and in some cases for both reasons. They included: V&R Fashions Ltd., Uponti Apparels Ltd., Ambia Apparels. Ltd., Anzir Apparels Ltd., Fashion Store Ltd., and ZSB Garments Ltd.
Two companies — Global Trousers Ltd., and The Dacca Dyeing Garments Ltd. — were suspended because they closed old locations.
The Alliance did not name the brands for which the factories were making products. Overall, the Alliance has now cut ties with 91 factories in Bangladesh.
The Alliance — made up of 28 mainly U.S. firms, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp., Gap Inc. and VF Corp. — was formed in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza tragedy, which claimed the lives of 1,133 workers and injured more than 2,000, along with the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, comprised of 200 mostly European companies with two global unions, IndustriALL and UNI Global Union.
The Alliance, now at the halfway point of its five-year initiative, performs independent inspections on the structural, electrical and fire safety of all factories from which its members source.
Factories receive corrective action plans aimed at helping address safety issues and achieving compliance with the Alliance’s safety standards. The group also provides technical advice and access to low-cost loans to assist factories with remediation. It said it is on track to remediate all critical safety issues in its active factories by 2018.
“To date, the Alliance has cut ties with a total of 91 noncompliant factories, 32 factories have completed the critical repairs outlined in their CAPs and 57 percent of all safety issues in Alliance factories have been corrected,” the group said.
The Alliance has completed safety inspections at 100 percent of the factories its members use, which fluctuate by season, but were at about 677 last month. It has trained 1.2 million workers on fire safety and is in the process of providing “refresher” courses to about 600,000 workers. In addition, 22,000 security guards working in Alliance factories have received safety training, Moriarty said in a press briefing on the group’s quarterly report in July.
He also said in July the group has provided financial compensation to nearly 7,000 workers displaced by remediation, “fulfilling 100 percent of the requests by factory owners and helping workers provide for themselves and their families despite temporary closures.”