Retailers to give reasonable time for factory relocation
North American retailers assured apparel makers in Bangladesh that they would give a reasonable amount of time to relocate the factories operating on shared buildings.
“We know transition needs time. Obviously, we will allow an appropriate amount of time to make the transition,” said Wesley Wilson, senior director for ethical sourcing at Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart is a member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a platform of 27 North American retailers and brands.
He was speaking at a meeting on building, fire and safety assessment, with garment makers and representatives of the Alliance at the office of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on February 27.
“Our intention is not to punish garment factory owners in the country; rather, we want to extend support for their up gradation,” said Wilson.
The assurance comes in response to apparel makers’ requests for sufficient time to improve workplace safety.
Around 40 percent of clothing factories in Bangladesh currently operate on shared or converted buildings, said Atiqul Islam, president of BGMEA.
Adequate time is needed as it takes two-three years to build a new factory, the BGMEA President said. As per the roadmap, the Alliance will inspect around 800 factories, while the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a forum of 150 retailers, mostly European, will inspect around 1,800 factories.