Wesfarmers drags its feet on factory worker protection

The horrendous fire in April in Bangladesh drew the world’s attention to issues facing workers within Bangladesh’s garment industry. This led to the IndustriALL global union creating a safety accord on fire and building safety in Bangladesh.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald today, Wesfarmers  (ASX: WES) owned Kmart and Target have both signed the accord. Coles, also owned by Wesfarmers, has not signed as it is believed to be ceasing sourcing supplies from Bangladesh. Meanwhile, neither Woolworths (ASX: WOW) nor its Big W chain have signed the accord, although a spokesperson is believed to have said the company intends to.

Rivers, a privately owned retailer that is also believed to use Bangladesh factories, has so far refused to sign the accord. Rivers also refused to speak with the ABC’s Four Corners program recently when it ran a story on the garment industry. Other listed retailers such as Premier Investments (ASX: PMV), which owns a number of retail brands including Just Jeans and Jay Jays, and Specialty Fashion Group (ASX: SFH), which owns the Millers and Katies brands amongst others, have so far remained coy on whether they source garments from Bangladesh.

Given the potential for customer backlash surrounding the issue of ‘ethical sourcing’, companies need to not only be careful in their actions but they also have a duty to keep investors fully informed.

The Australian Financial Review says “good quality Australian shares that have a long history of paying dividends are a real alternative to a term deposit.” Get “3 Stocks for the Great Dividend Boom” in our special FREE report. Click here now to find out the names, stock symbols, and full research for our three favourite income ideas, all completely free!

More reading

Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

The 5 mining stocks we’re recommending in 2019…

For decades, Australian mining companies have minted money for individual investors like you and me. But if you believe the pundits and talking heads on TV, those days are long gone. Finito! Behind us forever…

We say nothing could be further from the truth. To earn the really massive returns, you’ve got to fish where others aren’t fishing—and the mining sector could be primed for a resurgence. That’s why top Motley Fool analysts just revealed their exciting new research on 5 ASX miners they believe could help you profit in 2019 and beyond…


The best way we see to play the global zinc shortage… Our #1 favourite large-cap miner (hint: it’s not BHP)… one early-stage gold miner we think could hit the motherlode… Plus two more surprising companies you probably haven’t heard of yet!

For free access to our brand-new research, simply click here or the link below. But be warned, this research is available free for a limited time only, and we reserve the right to withdraw it at any time.

Click here for your FREE report!