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Bangladesh H&M factories still not safe, three years after signing Accord

Even as H&M shareholders prepare to meet in Sweden, the Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network, and Worker Rights Consortium have released a report revealing that the majority of H&M’s Bangladeshi supplier factories are still not safe. Three years after H&M became the first signatory to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh; almost all its factories remain behind schedule in carrying out the mandated renovations, with 70 per cent of its strategic suppliers still lacking such a vital, life-saving feature as adequate fire exits. On the day of H&M’s Annual General Meeting, activists around the world will make their concerns known at their local H&M store.

Four NGO witness signatories of the Accord have reviewed H&M's strategic suppliers in Bangladesh, after two earlier reports in September 2015 and January 2016. Although some progress is visible, the slow pace is concerning. The new analysis shows that all factories that in January 2016 still had lockable doors that might prevent workers from leaving the factory in an emergency have now removed those locks. Also the percentage of sliding doors or collapsible gates still in place has decreased considerably.

However, more troubling is that 69 per cent of these factories have not completed the installation of all fire-rated doors required for a safe exit for all workers in the factory.