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updated: 5/13/2013 9:39 AM

H&M backs safety accord in Bangladesh factories

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Associated Press

STOCKHOLM -- Swedish fashion retailer H&M says it will commit to a fire and building safety plan drawn up by unions in Bangladesh, following the deaths of hundreds of garment workers last month.

Describing safety issues as extremely important, the company said Monday that it wants to ensure no worker need to fear fires, building collapses and other accidents.

A fire and safety proposal drawn up last year by labor unions, which included the establishment of an independent inspectorate to oversee all factories in Bangladesh, was rejected by companies in the country's clothing industries as too costly and legally binding.

H&M said the new five-year accord was a "pragmatic step," and urged for a broad coalition of brands to reach an agreement that covers the entire industry of some 5,000 factories in Bangladesh.

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