Apparel Sourcing Intelligence - Worldwide

Primark threatens to leave Bangladesh if safety not assured

Primark became the first AFBSB signatory to discuss in public the possibility of leaving Bangladesh altogether.


“By signing up to the accord, we are all committing to at least maintaining the level of business we have in Bangladesh for five years. After that period, we will have to re-evaluate our position. We don’t want to be in unsafe factories,” The Guardian quoted Primark’s Ethical Trading Director Katherine Kirk as saying on June 22


Kirk said Primark tried to safeguard the workers producing its clothing, but admitted that it had not carried out structural surveys of factory buildings.


The firm keeps eight permanent staff in Bangladesh to monitor conditions in its factories, and it works with local partners to train the factory owners on safety measures. But Kirk said brands needed the Bangladeshi government’s support to ensure that safety laws were being enforced.


“When you look at the ethical audits that we are carrying out, the majority of what we are checking is that factories are meeting legal requirements. We would hope that the government is supporting an infrastructure that is monitoring those requirements as well” ┬áThe Bangladeshi government has admitted that it needs to recruit hundreds more factory inspectors. At present, just 51 inspectors are issuing factory operating licences in the country, which has more than 3,000 garment plants.