BD – Just over a year after the collapse of a textile factory in Bangladesh, which led to the deaths of 1,129 workers, the factory owners in Bangladesh are now threatening to take their case to court. The reason for this are the factory closures due to safety risks. According to the statements of the factory owners, it is not possible for them to carry on paying wages and the costs for repair works if the factories are closed for months.
Two agreements were drawn up last July on the initiative of numerous retail companies: The “Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety” is being financed by several Canadian and US American companies, including Fruit of the Loom, Gap and Walmart. The “Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh“ agreement was signed by over 150 international import and retail companies, including many German firms. Whereas the American agreement has led to the closure of five factories to-date, the “Accord” has called for a dozen factories to improve their production conditions.
The owner of Softex Cotton, a textile factory in Dhaka, has now threatened to take legal action against the “Accord” and is claiming 100 mil. US Dollars (approx. 75 mil. Euros) in compensation, after his factory was closed due to alleged structural problems. Whilst the agreement demands that brand manufacturers uphold their orders with their suppliers for two years – even in spite of a closure – the factory owners are afraid that they will lose the orders, if they have to close their plants. It is still unclear who is supposed to pay the workers during the repair work, if the factories are closed.
The “Alliance” has on the other hand provided 5 mil. US Dollars (approx. 3.7 mil. Euros), to remunerate the factory workers while their workplaces are being improved.