International retailer WalMart Stores claimed today it had told suppliers that it will drop them if they subcontract work to unauthorised factories.
WalMart's policy changes were designed to satisfy increasing calls for better safety oversight after a fire at a Bangladesh factory which supplied clothing to WalMart and other retailers.
The fire in late November killed 112 workers at a factory owned by Tazreen Fashions.
But activists quickly dismissed WalMart's measures as inadequate and said that the retailer needed to do far more.
Workers' Rights Consortium executive director Scott Nova said: "It shows that WalMart is feeling a great deal of pressure in the wake of public scrutiny."
However he said that the company's response wasn't adequate unless WalMart and others paid their suppliers more so they could cover the cost of repairs.
Mr Nova added: "Upfront commitment from retailers is essential if we are going to see real change."
His group is one of several organisations trying to get retailers to sign a contract to govern safety inspections at thousands of Bangladeshi factories.
The contract would force companies to publicly report fire hazards at factories, pay factory owners more to make repairs and provide at least $500,000 over two years for the effort.
They would also sign a legally binding agreement that would make them liable in the event of a factory fire.
But WalMart said it had no plans to sign the contract.
The International Labour Rights Forum has revealed that building fires have led to more than 600 garment worker deaths in Bangladesh since 2005.
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