DHAKA, June 4 Bangladesh government officials
said on Wednesday they hope to solve a crisis over their
decision to not shut down six garment factories deemed unsafe by
experts hired by western clothing brands.
Building inspectors from both sides disagreed over the safe
thickness of concrete used in the factory buildings.
More than 150 clothing brands and retailers, including the
world's top fashion chains Inditex and H&M,
who source out of Bangladesh, have joined the Accord for Fire
and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
Safety experts hired by this group have been inspecting
garment factories after a building collapse in April 2013
sparked a global outcry about Bangladesh's $22 billion industry.
"We are trying to resolve this issue soon," Syed Ahmed,
Inspector General of the Department of Inspection for Factories
and Establishments, told Reuters.
Joris Oldenziel, Accord's head of Public Affairs and
Stakeholder Engagement Office in Amsterdam, told Reuters the
group is disappointed the inspector general did not shut down
the unsafe factories.
"The Accord is working with BUET (Bangladesh University of
Engineering and Technology) to resolve the issue around the
strength of the concrete as soon as possible," he said.
The Accord relies on the opinion of engineers from the
university to determine standards of structural safety.
The government department has shut down a number of
factories partially on recommendations of inspectors from the
Accord, BUET and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety,
dominated by North American retailers like Gap and
(Reporting by Ruma Paul in Dhaka and Emma Thomasson in Berlin;
Editing by Ruth Pitchford)