Petition demands Gap, H&M sign BD safety plan

A petition supported by more than 828,000 people called on Gap Inc. (GPS) and Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB) to agree to new fire and safety standards at their suppliers after a fire killed hundreds at a Bangladeshi clothing factory.Online campaigns group Avaaz is organising the move, seeking 1 million backers to call on Gap Chief Executive Officer Glenn Murphy and H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson to sign to an agreement alongside other clothing companies by May 15.
A group of international retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) met unions and non-government organisations in Germany last month to discuss forming an alliance on improving factory standards.
“These factories aren’t sweatshops, they’re death shops,” Avaaz Campaign Director Alex Wilks said in a statement. “Hundreds of women have been crushed to death making our clothes.”
The death toll from the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex in Bangladesh two weeks ago has risen to 960. As many as 6,000 people were employed there, the website reported.
Sohel Rana, the owner of the building, and executives of four apparel makers housed in the structure in Savar, 24 kilometers (15 miles) northwest of Dhaka, have been arrested and a court ordered their assets to be seized.
After cracks were found in the building on April 23, workers were forced to return to their posts, according to Mokhlesur Rahman, director general of the Rapid Action Battalion, an elite law-enforcement agency.

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