Retailers Reject Minister's Accusations

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Babycare chain store Prènatal, and clothing chain Coolcat, say they have not refused to sign an accord amongst retailers to commit to better working conditions and safety for textile factory workers in Bangladesh. Along with discount shop Wibra, the two stores were targeted by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen.

Coolcat denied the allegation, with company founder Roland Kahn saying he has not made a final decision. Kahn stated he is still looking over the agreement and will sign on if he agrees to the details.


The remains of the collapsed Rana Plaza facility in Savar, Bangladesh (Sudipta06, Wikimedia Commons)

Kahn also defended his company's inaction by saying that many other retailers have not signed the legally-binding deal.

In a statement to Dutch news outlet Nos, a representative for Prènatal said the company is still analyzing the terms of the agreement. A final internal report on the agreement is expected shortly.

Over 1,100 textile workers died when Bangladesh factory complex Rana Plaza collapsed in April. Another 112 workers were killed in a fire earlier this month at the Tazreen factory.

Hundreds of laborers in Bangladesh have walked out of jobs in protest for higher wages and better safety measures.

Bangladesh is second only to China in clothing exports thanks in large part to trade agreements with western nations and ultra-low hourly wages. 60 percent of the apparel produced there is sent to European retailers, according to The Guardian.

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