More than a year after a fire killed 29 workers trapped inside a garment factory in Bangladesh, one of the American companies whose clothing was made at the plant has bowed to criticism and made concrete concessions to improve worker safety.
Tommy Hilfiger is the first label to come forward with voluntary rules that include paying $1million to $2million to devise a set of fire safety regulations and fund an independent inspector at every plant where its clothes are made.
The Gap and Kohl’s, two other American companies with products at the doomed Bangladeshi factory, have so far refused to set up similar safety regimes. Instead, labor groups say, they have paid only lip service to safety improvements in the wake of the disaster.
ABC News confronted the 60-year-old designer at New York’s Fashion Week, revealing that despite pledges to clean up their safety records after the December 2010 fire, workers at factories where Phillips-Van Heusen clothes are made have continued to die because of terrible safety conditions.
When fire broke out at a high-rise garment factory in the Ashulia industrial area of Bangladesh 15 months ago, it drew international attention to the horrifying safety conditions for local workers, most of them women, who make clothes for American and European companies.
Faulty wiring, overloaded by the sewing machines of 5,000 workers, started the fire, which grew into a raging inferno as bolts of fabric and clothing fueled the flames.
Workers on the roof in a makeshift break area were trapped. Some jumped to their deaths in panic. Others formed makeshift ropes from the cloth and climbed down several stories. As workers tried to flee, they found gates locked shut.
Source: Daily Mail Online