Worker Walkout Closes Hundreds of Factories in Bangladesh

Meanwhile, clothing companies vow to improve safety in the country

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 13, 2013 12:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – Bangladesh's entire renowned garment manufacturing hub has been shut down indefinitely, after 80% of its workers walked off the job. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association announced its decision to close the almost 500 factories in the Ashulia industrial zone "to ensure the security of our factories," the AFP reports. But the move was something of a fait accompli; almost no work had taken place there since the April 24 collapse of the nearby Rana Plaza building.

At the same time, three of the world's biggest clothing purveyors—H&M, C&A, and Zara owner Inditex—signed a deal today legally obligating them to fund safety improvements for their Bangladesh factories, the New York Times reports. PVH, which owns Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Izod, which already had a similar contract in place, will also sign on. Meanwhile, search for victims at the Rana building is set to wrap up today, Reuters reports, with the latest death toll clocking in at 1,127 people.

A Bangladeshi rescue worker walks at the site where a Bangladesh garment-factory building collapsed on April 24 in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 13, 2013.
A Bangladeshi rescue worker walks at the site where a Bangladesh garment-factory building collapsed on April 24 in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)
Dining tables and chairs that were gutted in a fire remain at a garment factory in Ashulia, Bangladesh, Wednesday,  Dec. 15, 2010.
Dining tables and chairs that were gutted in a fire remain at a garment factory in Ashulia, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010.   (AP Photo/ Pavel Rahman)
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