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Bangladesh: manufacturing horror

To the CEOs of H&M and GAP:

As global citizens and consumers, we urge you to immediately sign an enforceable Bangladesh fire and building safety agreement that will commit you to pay for routine, independent inspections and safety upgrades for your supplier factories, or risk fatal damage to your brand image. Your companies profit from cheap labor in Bangladesh, and can do much more to reduce the dangers of the workplaces where your products are made. Your action can encourage other multinationals to take full responsibility for conditions on the factory floor.

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The death toll from last week’s building collapse in Bangladesh has now topped 400 --  it’s Bangladesh’s worst ever industrial disaster. The eight-storey building, workplace to thousands of garment factory workers, showed clear signs of cracking a full day before it collapsed. More than 140 people are still missing underneath the rubble.

Right now, thousands of protesters are marching in Dhaka to demand their right to not die on the job. It’s time global fashion brands heed their call -- it’s their relentless squeeze for the bottom line that pushes suppliers to cram workers into sweatshops that don’t even meet basic safety standards. From thismanufacturing horror, we have the chance to force fashion giants to take responsibility for workplace safety.

We can start with H&M and GAP -- two industry giants with huge production lines in Bangladesh. Workers have asked them to sign a groundbreaking, tough factory safety agreement, and together we can strengthen their hand while the media focus remains on Bangladesh. When we reach 1 million, we’ll place hard-hitting adverts that force their CEOs to respond. Sign then share widely.

Posted: 1 May 2013

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