After reviewing the “Accord on Fire and Building Safety” of Bangladesh, UNIQLO has finally signed the safety pact albeit without criticism because of the delay. Fast Retailing, the holding company of Uniqlo, said on Thursday that it has agreed to the terms and conditions indicated in the pact, a pre-requisite by the Bangladesh Government for eager companies that want to set up businesses in the country.
Following the tragic incident in Dhaka back in April, when more than a thousand workers were killed because of a commercial complex collapse, a garment safety pact was established through the initiative of unions in the country. The $20 billion industry has appalling working conditions for their numerous blue-collar workers. The agreement aims to protect these workers in the world’s second largest garment industry which is next only to China. Some Europe and U.S.-based companies have already agreed to the safety pact so when UNIQLO refused to do so right away, even though it promised to review the agreement, the National Garment Worker Federation of Bangladesh described it as an “irresponsible move from a very responsible company.”
As of last month, there were already 70 retailers that have agreed to the “Accord on Fire and Building Safety.” Their offices and factories in the country will then be subjected to safety inspections within nine months. If they are discovered to have safety issues, the retail companies will have to initiate repairs and necessary renovations to ensure their workers’ safety. Uniqlo started a venture called Grameen Uniqlo in 2010 which is a social business that will produce clothes for the poor in Bangladesh. The clothes are being sold by women door to door or from their own homes so that they can have financial independence from their families.