Big retailers told to sign on for safety
Woolworths is under more pressure to sign on to a voluntary safety accord as more workers die in India making products for the rest of the world.
Another fatal fire has broken out in one of India’s sprawling manufacturing districts, known for their cramped conditions and virtually non-existent safety restrictions.
Major Australia stores Target and Big W have signed on to the accord that seeks to impose new safety standards overseas, after both stores revealed they had sold products made by workers in the region.
There is pressure on Woolworths to do the same.
A spokesperson has previously said that Woolworths does not buy products from the region of Bangladesh which was recently impacted by the fires, now it appears the company is not so sure.
Oxfam spokesperson Daisy Gardener is supporting the push for Woolworths to put their name to a promise on safety.
“Woolworths, who own Big W, they said that they were going to sign the accord but they haven't yet so we're really hoping that this latest fire is a big wake-up call for Woolworths,” she said.
“We think they need to sign on as soon as possible so that they are added into the list of factories that will be inspected. There's absolutely no point in waiting around.”
About 1,600 factories in Bangladesh have signed up for new safety standards drafted by unions, companies and the government to include mandatory safety inspections, and allowing people to turn down work in unsafe buildings.
Bangladesh is home to legions of the world’s poorest workers, most of whom are employed in shocking conditions for marginal pay. The conditions may have worsened recently, leading to a number of fatal fires in woefully unprepared factories. The safety accord is an attempt to restore some sense of humanity to the disturbingly uncaring industry, and the international companies that perpetuate it.