Foreign labels found in Bangladesh factory fire



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Monday 28 January 2013

Last update 28 January 2013 4:17 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

DHAKA: The unlicensed garment factory in the Bangladesh capital where seven women workers died in a fire Saturday was making clothing for Spanish giant Inditex and several French brands.
An AFP correspondent sifting through the charred remains of the Smart Export factory Sunday found labels such as Bershka, a retailer owned by Inditex; Sol’s; Scott and Fox; and G Blog, which is part of France’s Gemo.
Sourcing by global retailers first came under the spotlight just two months ago, after Bangladesh’s deadliest garment factory fire killed 111 workers who were making clothing for Walmart and a variety of Western firms.
The November blaze at Tazreen Fashion, which also had no fire department licence, highlighted the Bangladeshi apparel industry’s appalling safety record.
The fire at the Smart factory employing around 300 workers broke out Saturday afternoon, leaving at least seven female workers dead and 15 injured — five of them critically.
Worker Laizu Begum said the factory, which paid workers as little as $ 37 a month, had one of its doors closed when the blaze broke out during lunch break, forcing the workers to rush to the other door in a stampede.
Fire officials said the stampede caused most of the deaths. “Burnt foam and clothing created huge smoke. I survived as I was sitting close to a gate,” she told AFP.
Major Mahbubur Rahman, operations director of the Bangladesh Fire Service, said the factory had not received an operating licence from the service.
“It’s just a factory in name,” he told AFP.
“The owners set up some sewing machines on a floor without taking care of any safety issues. It did not have any fire exit or fire equipment.”
It was not clear whether Smart had won the orders directly from the European companies or was subcontracting for large local factories.
Mohammad Akash, an official with Smart, told AFP the company mainly subcontracts from larger Bangladeshi factories including Mactex, which could not be contacted for comment.
Of the country’s 4,500 garment factories, most are small plants in residential areas which depend on sub-contracted orders from bigger plants. Many operate only in peak seasons.
Fire is a common problem in the factories in Bangladesh, the world’s second largest apparel maker. Around 700 people have been killed in garment factory fires since 2006.
The industry is the mainstay of the impoverished country’s economy, accounting for up to 80 percent of annual exports worth $24.3 billion last year.
Western retailers have criticized the Bangladeshi factories for not ensuring worker safety, but major brands still place orders. Some have reportedly increased purchases since the Tazreen fire, due to cheap manufacturing costs.

International labor rights groups urged foreign brands and retailers Sunday to join a labor-supported agreement to prevent future tragedies.
“After more than two decades of the apparel industry knowing about the risks to these workers, nothing substantial has changed: brands still keep their audit results secret,” said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labour Rights Forum.
Labour rights groups want major brands and retailers to finance the major renovations and repairs needed to make Bangladesh’s apparel factories safe.
But only PVH, the owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, and German retailer Tchibo have signed an agreement which provides for such financing and bans production at unsafe factories.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The $22-billion Riyadh Metro project is going on according to the plan despite the fact that many global projects are faltering.“There are many stalled projects all over the world and not in the Kingdom alone, but the metro project in the Sau...
JEDDAH: Four members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) were stabbed by a youth who was allegedly trying to blackmail a girl in Jeddah. The incident happened on Tuesday night and the four officers, who sus...
RIYADH: A recent report released by the Ministry of Labor revealed that the number of violations registered on the ministry’s electronic program “Together for Monitoring” in the months of December 2015 and January 2016 amounted to 484, of which 157 w...
RIYADH: Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih visited the medical complex in Thuwal, near Jeddah, on Tuesday. The facility was set up by Saudi Aramco, whose chairman is the health minister himself.According to the minister, the complex provides primary hea...
JEDDAH: A number of Shoura Council members have voiced objections to some imams who express their personal opinions during Friday sermons.The members asked the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to supervise the sermons to make sure they were written by spe...
MADINAH: Street vendors near the Prophet’s Mosque pose a risk to the country’s reputation and economy besides blocking the way of service cars, Red Crescent and Civil Defense vehicles, an expert has said.Ninety-eight percent of these street merchants...
RIYADH: Appropriate action has been taken against the Haia members who were involved in beating up a girl opposite the Nakheel shopping mall here recently, but the girl was also at fault, a Haia official has clarified.“A probe has revealed that the g...
I am from the east of France but moved to Saudi Arabia from Paris in 1990. I worked for a princess as a French language tutor. I was young and single. I thought it was very exotic and mysterious. I lived in a palace. I left Saudi Arabia in 1992 and c...
JEDDAH: The Pakistan Repatriation Council (PRC) held a symposium on Kashmir and the obligation of Muslim world toward Kashmiris.It was presided by Ali Al-Ghamdi, a former Saudi diplomat. Other guests and speakers at the event were Shahid Nayeem, pres...
DAMMAM: A total of 627 kidney transplant surgeries were performed in the Kingdom last year, bringing the number of kidney transplants, performed since the beginning of the organ donation program, to 9,000 surgeries, said Dr. Faisal Shaheen, director...
ABHA: Saudi women spend more on cosmetics compared to women in the West, the Arab world and even in the Gulf, economic studies show.Recent statistics issued by the Saudi Customs suggest the amount of imported cosmetics in the past year exceeded SR2.3...
RIYADH: A study is under way to provide health insurance to Umrah pilgrims and domestic workers and certain articles of the health regulations needs to be amended, an official has said.According to local media, the statement was made by Mohammed bin...
JEDDAH: The government last year helped over 2,000 children overcome circumstances that forced them to beg or work illegally. The number of children who got help to overcome was 2,039 last year, of which the proportion of the Saudi children was 16 pe...
RIYADH: The number of visitors to the United Kingdom from Saudi Arabia has been steadily increasing from 89,000 in 2009 to 144,000 in 2014.This was revealed at a presentation made to mark the launch of “Visit Britain” program in Riyadh on Wednesday....
NAJRAN: Three members of the Saudi National Guard died in Rabuah, Najran, on Wednesday.National Guard spokesman Maj. Mohammed Omari identified them as Lt. Faisal bin Abdullah Al-Shehri, Lt. Faisal bin Talal Al-Toub and Lt. Saud bin Khaled Al-Rukhayye...

Stay Connected

Facebook