Winnipeg clothing makers react to Bangladesh collapse
Some garment manufacturers in Winnipeg are concerned about factory conditions in developing countries, in light of the fatal collapse of a clothing factory in Bangladesh.
At least 382 people were killed when the building, which housed five garment factories, collapsed last Wednesday.
It was the deadliest disaster to hit Bangladesh's garment industry, which is worth $20 billion annually and supplies global retailers.
David Rich, who owns Richlu Manufacturing, says his company manufactures one-third of its garments in Winnipeg, one-third in China and the remaining third in Bangladesh.
"It is such a corrupt country," Rich said of Bangladesh, where he visits the factories he deals with twice a year.
"We don't deal with subcontractors and things like that, so we know where our garments are being made," he said.
"We also have paid quality control people that are in Bangladesh all the time, full-time."
Rich said he does his best to ensure workers are treated well in the factories that make his company's garments, but he admits he cannot control everything.
The head of another Winnipeg-based garment manufacturer, Peerless Garments, says he does not have to worry about the conditions of workers in distant countries because everything is made in Canada.
Poor construction cited as factor
Officials have cited poor construction as a factor in the building collapse. The owners and several engineer face charges. It manufactures the popular Joe Fresh clothing line sold at Superstores in Canada.
Several Canadian retailers met on Monday with the Retail Council of Canada to talk about working conditions in Third-World sweatshops.
Among the companies at the emergency meeting was Loblaw, whose Joe Fresh clothing line was produced in the factory that collapsed.
Late Monday, Loblaw announced that it will compensate families of victims who worked at the factory.
Loblaw is the only Canadian company that has publicly admitted to carrying items made in the collapsed factory, which a garment manufacturers' group say employed 3,122 workers.
About 2,500 survivors have been accounted for.
With files from The Associated Press