It will inspect all factories in the country
US retailer Walmart said on Tuesday it did not plan to sign a Bangladesh fire and building safety accord drawn up by labour groups because it believed its current
safety plans would get faster results, reports Reuters.
While AFP said the retail giant would conduct in-depth safety inspections at all 279 of its Bangladesh suppliers, in the wake of the building collapse at Savar that killed more than 1,100.
The legally-binding agreement, drafted by labour and non-governmental organisations Europe’s IndustriALL and UNI Global Union, had a May 15 deadline for retailers to sign on.
Many North American retailers were discussing whether to forge their own Bangladesh safety agreement as an alternative.
‘The company, like a number of other retailers, is not in a position to sign the IndustriALL accord at this time,’ Walmart said in a statement.
‘While we agree with much of the proposal, the IndustriALL plan also introduces requirements, including governance and dispute resolution mechanisms, on supply chain matters that are appropriately left to retailers, suppliers and government, and are unnecessary to achieve fire and safety goals,’ Walmart said.
The company said it believes its own safety plan ‘meets or exceeds the IndustriALL proposal, and will get results more quickly.’
‘Since the IndustriALL accord affords a 45-day discussion period, Walmart looks forward to participating in the continued discussion. If the issues with the accord could be addressed, Walmart would be pleased to join the effort.’
The firm said it would release the names of and inspection information on each of the factories, and meanwhile also issued a list of more than 200 factories that it has blacklisted for failing to meet its standards.
Walmart said it would also have Bureau Veritas provide fire safety training for every worker in every factory in Bangladesh that produces its goods. Bureau Veritas is a European testing and inspection company that, on behalf of Walmart, assesses factories and trains workers in Bangladesh.
‘The company will immediately order its production stopped at facilities where urgent safety issues are identified, notify the factory owner and government authorities of the need to take action,’ Walmart said.
‘As a result, workers in these facilities can be assured of safer working conditions, and the entire market will be lifted to a new standard.’
It will also contract Labour Voices, a company that works with workers to understand their problems, to help Walmart maintain its factory standards.
-With New Age input