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

ALKHOBAR: Many Saudi citizens travel outside the Kingdom during vacations looking for entertainment for themselves and their families as entertainment facilities in the Kingdom do not meet their aspirations. They have called for setting up entertainm...
TAIF: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal inaugurated state-of-the-art Radf public park in Taif which has an interactive fountain — the biggest of its kind in the Kingdom and spread over 13,000 sq meters. The fountain has colored lighting and a displ...
JEDDAH: The Special Criminal Court has issued a preliminary order in a case related to a Saudi national who fought with militant organizations in Syria. The court, functioning at its summer headquarters in Jeddah, sentenced him to a seven-year jail t...
RI YADH: The Kingdom has decided to increase the financial aid to Palestine by raising its monthly aid to the Palestinian Authority’s budget from $14 million to $20 million. The substantial increase brings Saudi Arabia’s yearly aid for Palestine to $...
JEDDAH: The Saudi Ambassador to Jordan has rejected terror charges against Saudis incarcerated in Iraqi jails and slammed the government of that country for concealing information on the inmates."The file of Saudi prisoners in Iraq has grabbed the at...
JEDDAH: Six female members of the Shoura Council participated in a training program to raise awareness among citizens on the municipal elections in which women will participate. The program was organized by Al-Nahda Philanthropic Society for Women un...
RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has issued an order appointing and promoting 96 members at the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIPP) at various ranks.Sheikh Mohammed bin Fahd Al Abdullah, BIPP president, expresse...
DAMMAM: After the recent increase in verbal and physical harassment of women and girls in the Kingdom, they have turned to martial arts in order to protect themselves. Amani Yassin, a coach at Taekwondo Training Institute, said: “Saudi women are inte...
RIYADH: A youth has been arrested for allegedly killing a Saudi man near the Madinah airport recently. The police apprehended the alleged killer without incident. The suspect, a 24-year-old Saudi, is alleged to have stabbed the victim several times...
RIYADH: A total of 4,326 male and female students started their local and regional summer program for 2015 under the sponsorship of the King Abdul Aziz and his Companions Foundation for the Gifted and Creativity (Mawhiba) throughout the Kingdom on Su...
BURAIDAH: The security patrolling team in Qassim detained a woman for driving a car on the streets of Buraidah.Her case was referred to the higher-ups for necessary action.According to Maj. Badar Al-Sahibani, spokesman Qassim police, the woman is ide...
RIYADH: Recent statistics announced by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, which coincided with consensus surveys in the Kingdom for the year 2014, revealed that there is only one doctor for each 800 people, and one nurse for every 285 peopl...
Indian expats have paid glowing tributes to one of its most beloved presidents and iconic leaders on Tuesday, as condolences poured in from various parts of the Kingdom for A.P.J. Abdul Kalam following his sudden death on Monday.Hemant Kotalwar, char...
RIYADH: The National Center for Assessment in Higher Education (Qiyas) has announced the dates of tests for male and female students for the new academic year.Ibrahim Rasheed, director for public relations and communications, said the center has com...
RIYADH: The Ministries of Health and Education in cooperation with the Kingdom’s universities launched a program dubbed, “Education and Work,” in Riyadh on Tuesday to help Saudi youth find employment in the public and private sectors. A memorandum of...

Stay Connected

Facebook