Apr 29, 2013

By Scott Walker

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A number of Canadian retailers will meet today with the Retail Council of Canada to talk about working conditions in third-world sweatshops.

The issue jumped into the spotlight last Wednesday after the collapse of an eight-storey building housing garment factories in Bangladesh.

The number of known dead from the disaster has risen to at least 380, and is expected to continue rising as crews dig deeper under the rubble.

Loblaws will be at today’s meeting of retailers. Loblaw buys Joe Fresh clothes made in the collapsed building and has expressed condolences to those affected by the tragedy.

A Workers’ Rights Consortium based in Washington says it has seen data showing Joe Fresh has imported thousands of kilograms of clothing from the plant so far this year. But Loblaws maintains only a few items from its product lines were made at the plant.

Loblaw says it’s committed to ensuring safe working conditions for those who produce the products it sells.

The issue is expected to be raised when Loblaws holds its annual general meeting on Thursday.

Sources now say clothing sold by Wal-Mart and Fairweathers may also have been made at the plant.

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