US firms asked to improve conditions in B'desh facilities
Washington: A US congresswoman today called on American companies to ensure the safety and working conditions of workers at their factories in Bangladesh, after a massive building collapse killed over 400 people in the country.
In separate letters to major US retailers, Grace Meng, the Democratic Congresswoman from New York, demanded that they do more to improve the deplorable working and safety conditions that exist at the facilities that produce their products.
A member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Meng sent letters to the chief executive officers of Walmart, Gap and American Apparel Footwear Association, a major trade group, urging them to take leading roles to protect the subcontracted workers they use in Bangladesh's clothing factories.
"It is time for US companies to finally take responsibility for the widespread safety problems that have long plagued the factories they use in Bangladesh," Meng said.
The factory collapse in Bangladesh occurred last week after cracks discovered in the building were not fixed, killing at least 410 people and injuring thousands.
The disaster came after previous tragedies that killed workers in collapses and fires, also due to unsafe conditions.
"For too long, American retailers have done virtually nothing about these unacceptable and outrageous working conditions and they must be held accountable for their reckless disregard for adequate safeguards," she said.
It is the moral responsibility of American companies that procure goods within the country to ensure their suppliers operate safe factories, Meng said.
"American companies should demand that their contracted suppliers correct all safety violations and dismiss any contractor that that places people's lives at risk. It's time to stop the greed. Putting profits ahead of safety can no longer be an option," she said.
In her letter, the Congresswoman demanded that the American companies must focus on preventive measures so that these tragedies are avoided in the future.