World News

Some World Retailers Negotiating Reparations for Bangladesh Factory Disasters

Some of the world's largest retailers are meeting in Geneva to negotiate reparations for victims of two deadly disasters at Bangladesh garment factories.

The damages could total more than $70 million, with the International Labor Organization convening the meetings in Switzerland to determine each brand's share of the payments.

Bangladesh is the world's second largest clothing exporter behind China, and has 3.6 million people working in the industry. But it has sustained two major accidents in the last year. More than 1,100 people were killed when an eight-story manufacturing plant collapsed in April, and 112 workers perished in a factory fire last November.

Britain's Primark chain, Canada's Loblaw and German discounter KiK Textilien are among the companies negotiating the damages. But the world's largest retailer and one of the biggest Bangladesh clothing importers, U.S.-based Wal-Mart Stores, is absent from the talks, as are Italian retailer Benetton and Spain's Mango.

Wal-Mart says its clothing was at the two factories without its knowledge because of unauthorized sub-contracting. Since the accidents, Wal-Mart has focused on making loans to improve factory conditions, rather than paying compensation to victims of the two disasters.

Analysts say the families of the victims could get about $33,000 apiece.

Feature Story

An aerial view shows a thinned crowd of pro-democracy student protesters continuing to occupy the streets around the government complex in Hong Kong, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014.

Chinese President's Risky Options for Dealing with Hong Kong Protests

So far, Beijing has refused to back down on its August 31 ruling that Hong Kong can hold its first direct election for its leader only if all candidates are strictly vetted by a nominating committee More

Special Reports