Four months on from a factory collapse in Bangladesh, that killed more than 1,100 textile workers, fears remain about safety standards in the country’s $21 billion clothing industry.
The collapse of the Rana Plaza factory has generated fierce debate about what changes should be made, along with pledges from employers and global retailers like Walmart to improve worker rights and safety.
Bangladesh’s parliament passed a labor law with new amendments on July 15, but the International Labour Organization (ILO) and various rights groups, say that, despite some improvements, it falls short on key issues.
Kalpona Akter, from labor rights group the Bangladesh Centre for Workers’ Solidarity, says workers are taking matters into their own hands.
“Whenever they see a spark or a crack in the building, they are saying this is not a safe working place,” she says. “They walk out from the factory, and they tell their factory owners or management that until you make it safe, we will not come back.”