Thursday, December 5, 2013
By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO/The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
A Bangladeshi rescue worker walks at the site where a garment factory building collapsed on April 24 in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Monday. Nearly three weeks after the building collapse, the search for the dead ended Monday at the site of the worst disaster in the history of the global garment industry.
The Associated Press
Rescued woman done with garment factories
The Associated Press
SAVAR, Bangladesh - The 19-year-old seamstress who spent 17 days trapped in the rubble of a collapsed factory building said Monday that she will never again work in a Bangladesh garment factory.
Reshma Begum was pulled in remarkably good shape from the wreckage of the eight-story Rana Plaza building Friday.
On the morning of April 24, she said, she heard there were cracks in the building and saw co-workers, mainly men, refusing to enter. The managers reassured them: "There is no problem. You do your work," she said.
Soon after, the building crashed down around her.
"When it happened I fell down and was injured in the head heavily. Then I found myself in darkness," she said. She tried to crawl to safety, but could not find a way out, she said.
She survived on four packets of cookies she had with her and some water.
But the pressure has increased for those that stay. Since April's building collapse, Avaaz, a human rights group with 21 million members worldwide, has gotten more than 900,000 signatures on a petition pushing Gap and H&M to commit to the proposal. And in the U.S., university chapters of United Students Against Sweatshops are helping to stage demonstrations against Gap in more than a dozen cities including Seattle, Los Angeles and New York.
The safety agreement comes two years after a fire and safety proposal drawn up by labor unions was first rejected by many clothing companies as too costly and legally binding. The latest agreement is a revised version of that proposed pact.
Forty companies, including Walmart, H&M and J.C. Penney, met in Germany with labor rights groups days after the building collapse. They discussed how the industry could improve safety conditions in Bangladesh.
H&M said Monday that the new agreement is a "pragmatic step," and urged more brands to reach a pact that covers the entire industry of factories in Bangladesh.
Primark, which is among the few companies to have acknowledged that suppliers were making clothes for them at the site of the April building collapse and to promise to compensate workers and their families, agreed.
In a statement Monday, the company said the agreement was the most likely way to "bring effective and sustainable change for the better to the Bangladeshi garment industry."