12 Jul 2013 11:19

MELBOURNE, July 10 (Bernama) -- Three Australian retailers using low-cost labour in Bangladesh have so far failed to sign an accord that will require safety inspections at the country's overcrowded garment factories within nine months.

The accord, lead by a coalition of trade unions, has been signed by more than 70 global retailers and several unions and is enforceable by law.

An ABC TV programme last month revealed Coles, Target, Cotton On and Forever New were among the retailers manufacturing clothing in Bangladesh, where a factory collapse in April claimed more than 1,100 lives.

Fairfax Media also reported Kmart, Big W and Rivers were among Western companies using low-cost labour in the South Asian country.

The Australian Associated Press reports a full list of signatories to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was published by trade union IndustriALL this week.

The signatories include Cotton On, Kmart, Forever New and Target. So far, Coles, Big W and Rivers have not signed the accord.

The accord outlines an implementation plan that mandates initial inspections in all garment factories that produce clothing for the signatory brands. The inspections will identify "grave hazards and the need for urgent repairs."

A Big W spokesman said it had intentions to sign the accord but was waiting for details of how it will be enforced.

"We have one small contract remaining with a supplier in Bangladesh, which will be completed in the next few weeks and we have no plans to place further contracts in the country," a Coles spokeswoman said.

"If we decide to source from Bangladesh in the future we will audit any factory we work with and we would sign the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord," she said.