Bangladesh factory collapse
A building that housed several garment factories used by multinational corporations collapsed yesterday killing at least 100 people and injuring over 800.
The eight-story Rana Plaza building in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka contained three factories and a shopping mall.
Workers' rights activists managed to enter the ruins of 'Rana Plaza' and found labels and documentation linking the factories with major retailers including Mango and Primark which yesterday announced record profits.
Other companies which used the factory included C&A, KIK and Wal-Mart. These brands also used the Tazreen factory, not far from Savar, where 112 workers died in a fire exactly five months ago. German costcutter KIK was also involved in the Ali Enterprises fire in Pakistan, where nearly 300 workers burned to death last September.
“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,” said Tessel Pauli from Clean Clothes Campaign.
Workers had complained about cracks appearing in the walls days before the accident but managers ordered them back to work. The Clean Clothes Campaign have alleged that the floors where “illegally built.”
Campaigners are now calling on brands sourcing from Bangladesh to sign up to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement. The CCC, together with local and global unions and labour rights organisations has developed a sector-wide program for action that includes independent building inspections, worker rights training, public disclosure and a long-overdue review of safety standards. It is transparent as well as practical, and unique in being supported by all key labour stakeholders in Bangladesh and internationally.
The agreement was already signed last year by the US company PVH Corp (owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger) and the German retailer Tchibo. The labour signatories are now calling on all major brands sourcing in the industry to sign on to the initiative in order to ensure its rapid implementation. The programme has the potential to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers currently at risk in unsafe and illegally built factories.
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