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American Retailers form The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety

In a story ‘Wal-Mart, Gap, Others Agree to Boost Worker Safety in Bangladesh published on July 10, 2013, by William Mauldin from Dow Jones, reflects the efforts by Wal-Mart and other leading American retailers to bolster worker safety efforts in Bangladesh, although some people still think that these efforts are “woefully inadequate”

Managers from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Gap Inc. and other large U.S. retailers on Wednesday announced a deal to boost worker safety in Bangladesh following a deadly factory collapse in April.

The retailers group, known as the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, said it has raised a $42 million safety fund so far, with some retailers also offering a total of $100 million in loans and “access to capital to assist factory owners they work with in Bangladesh,” according to a statement from the group.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the U.S. retailers were close to a deal to establish a $50 million, five-year fund.

Some U.S. retailers had come under fire for not joining a group of Western retailers that adopted a legally binding pact to improve worker safety soon after the collapse, which killed more than 1,100 garment workers.

As the deal was announced in Washington, a small group of protesters gathered on the street and handed out leaflets saying the retailers’ pact is “woefully inadequate” and won’t do enough to help workers.

According to this New York Times article,  the alliance, formed by 17 major US retailers including Wal-Mart, Gap, Target and Macy’s, came under severe attack from labor rights groups who stated that the plan was ‘less stringent that an accord reached by European companies.’ They described the plan as being “company-developed and company-controlled”.

Click here to access the details of this alliance, and the five-year commitment set in place to improve factory conditions for workers in Bangladesh