River Island has signed the Bangladesh factory safety Accord, five months after the collapse of the Rana Plaza building which killed 1,129 people.

Fashion retailers including River Island and Topshop-owner Arcadia had been criticised by campaign groups for not signing the agreement earlier. Arcadia agreed to the Accord at the beginning of last week.

In a statement River Island said it signed the agreement after “careful consideration and on-going discussions with relevant parties”.

It added: “Our objective throughout has been to establish a long-term framework for improving working conditions in the countries that we produce in.

“We feel the Accord is the best vehicle to bring about significant changes to the region.

“The final details of the Accord are still being established and we look forward to working closely with the Accord members to put the plan into action.”

The health and safety regulations have been drawn up by international union IndustriALL following the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in April, which housed five factories that supplied western retailers including Primark, Bonmarche and Canadian firm Joe Fresh.

More than 50 brands have signed up to the Accord which aims to stop such disasters happening again.

By agreeing to the Accord, retailers sign a legally binding pledge to contribute up to $500,000 (£325,000) a year towards rigorous independent factory inspections and the installation of fire safety measures.

An all-party group of MPs led by chair and St Albans MP Anne Main visited Bangladesh last weekend as part of a report into how to improve factory working conditions.

  • Lidl has begun an internal investigation following a BBC Panorama documentary into working conditions in Bangladesh. The programme claimed Lidl sourced jeans and dungarees from supplier Ha Meem Sportswear which it claims abused workers offering low wages for long hours.