Bangladesh factory tragedy: statement from Labour Behind the Label

April 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm (Bangladesh, capitalism, Human rights, internationalism, profiteers, reblogged, rights, solidarity, tragedy, workers)

Bangladeshi soldiers use earth mover during rescue operation at site of factory collapse in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 24, 2013. At least 161 people were killed.

Bangladeshi soldiers use earth mover during rescue operation at site of factory collapse in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 24, 2013. At least 161 people were killed. / AP

Statement from Labour Behind the Label:

Labour Behind the Label today mourns the senseless loss of life, after an 8 story building in Savar, Bangladesh housing 3 clothing factories collapsed this morning (24.4.13). Over 82 workers [now known to be at least 161 -JD] were killed in the wreckage and 800 people injured, with the death toll set to rise as further bodies are found. Labour rights groups and trade unions in Bangladesh and internationally are calling for immediate action from international brands following the collapse.

 The building contained 3 separate clothing factories, which locals say housed around 6,000 workers. Following the collapse, activists were able to enter the ruins and discovered labels from brands including Primark and Mango, indicating that they were sourcing from the factories. Rana Plaza also produced for a host of well known brand names including C&A, Matalan and Wal-Mart.

This collapse follows the Tazreen factory fire in the same district that killed 112 workers five months ago, and the Spectrum Factory collapse of 2005 which caused the death of at least 64 workers. The speed of the garment industry expansion in the Savar area is an ongoing and pressing concern. Savar, just outside of Dhaka, has seen significant growth in garment factories in recent times, with factories being built on swamp land and without proper building regulations in place. Labour rights groups say unnecessary deaths will continue unless and until brands and government officials agree to an independent and binding fire and building safety program.

“It’s unbelievable that brands still refuse to sign a binding agreement with unions and labour groups to stop these unsafe working conditions from existing. Tragedy after tragedy shows that corporate-controlled monitoring is completely inadequate,” says Sam Maher of Labour Behind the Label.

She adds: “Right now the families of the victims are grieving and the community is in shock. But shortly they, and the hundreds injured in the collapse, will be without income and without support. Compensation must be provided by the brands who were sourcing from these factories, and responsibility taken for their lack of action to prevent this happening.”

Labour Behind the Label is calling upon all major brands sourcing from Bangladesh to sign the ‘Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement’ immediately to stop future tragedies from happening. The Clean Clothes Campaign, together with local and global unions and labour rights organisations, has developed this sector-wide program that includes independent building inspections, worker rights training, public disclosure and a long-overdue review of safety standards. This transparent and practical agreement is unique in that it is supported by all key labour stakeholders in Bangladesh and internationally.

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Note to political cartoonists: time to revisit and update this:

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7 Comments

  1. Jim Denham said,

    Statement from IndustriALL Global Union (via LabourStart):

    http://www.industriall-union.org/hundreds-of-bangladeshi-garment-workers-die

  2. Andrew Coates said,

    Absolute tragedy, and deserved lead story (it was on Al-Jazeera at least).

    Apparently it supplied Primark as well.

    Where I get my clothes…

  3. daniel said,

    Yeh plenty of cheap cloths came from there.Is it not a fucker that our wage cannot afford.

  4. Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

    We consumers want the best deal so we go to Amazon who pays no corporation tax and the likes of Primark who can sell clothes cheaply because labourers in third world countries are getting paid £25 a month working long hours in poor conditions with minimal labour rights.

    If you want to help try these guys they seem to be getting some decent amount of press http://www.waronwant.org/

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