Gap Still 'In Discussion' Over Bangladesh Safety Accord

With the deadline to sign the Bangladesh safety accord a week past due, Gap is still inching towards a decision.
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Hayley Phelan
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With the deadline to sign the Bangladesh safety accord a week past due, Gap is still inching towards a decision.
Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

With the deadline to sign the Bangladesh safety accord a week past due, Gap is still inching towards a decision.

CEO Glenn Murphy said yesterday at the retailer's annual general meeting, that they were still "in discussion" over the legally-binding agreement, which requires retailers to help finance the fire and safety improvements needed in the area, Reuters is reporting.

According to Murphy, the company is close to signing onto the agreement--provided some "very minor accommodations" are made. Murphy declined to say what changes he was referring to, however the New York Times reported last week that the retailer objected to the legally-binding nature of the agreement. Murphy said that that accord, as it is now, doesn't "make sense" for the company.

When the issues were first raised by Gap last week, IndustriALL, the European union that helped create the accord, said it could not make the requested changes.

However, if discussions are continuing as Murphy claims, perhaps concessions will be made after all. Either that, or Gap is using these unnamed "very minor accommodations" as an excuse not to sign the accord--a way of saying no without really saying no.

Unfortunately for the retailer, consumers are already outraged it's taken Gap this long to sign the accord. Numerous petitions have sprung up urging the retailer to sign onto the accord, and a new campaign, targeted specifically at Gap, Gap Death Traps, has gained a solid following.

"Gap’s refusal to join is a mistake that shoppers will not forget," UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said last week. "We will make progress without them.”

Hopefully, at the urging of consumers and industry groups, Gap will come to a final decision regarding the Bangladesh safety accord--or they may get left behind.