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Western Brands Rethink Low-Cost Focus by Kathy Chu Factory workers in Bangladesh and Cambodia can expect a better wage this year. According to Kathy Chu’s article titled, Western Brands Rethink Low-Cost Focus, Western manufacturers in the two countries have initiated a review of their low-cost strategy in consideration of the recent fire incidents in Bangladesh. They now demand for third parties to look into the safety and welfare of factory workers. The move to cut on manufacturing costs was said to help consumers save. However, the effect of it made workers suffer poor manufacturing conditions resulting in accidents. Now, several companies with presence in Bangladesh including Esprit Holdings, Fast Retailing and Zara parentInditexSA have signed five-year contracts implementing third-party safety inspections of buildings to ensure their compliance with the safety standards. Likewise, companies like Hamp.M are also looking into increasing the wages of the workers, saying that workers should be able to live on their wages. This means that manufacturing cost will be higher, which is favorable to the workers but not to manufacturers and consumers. Nevertheless, the move has started yet there are no reports whether prices of products will increase with the ongoing changes. Despite the move of several Western companies, the report says that only up to 25 percent of the factories have complied with the said action. This means that 75 percent has not yet done its part and those factories could be expected to add up to the number of fire incidents in Bangladesh. Therefore, Geoffrey Crothall, spokesman for China Labour Bulletin suggests that the government should take the matter seriously and take the responsibility of inspecting buildings and looking into the welfare of their own people. ReferenceChiu, K. (2014). Western brands rethink low-cost focus. Retrieved January 27, 2014, from