• IS provokes sea-change

    It has been a grave mistake to defy both Russia and France, says Leopold Scholtz.

  • Nene's SAA nemesis

    No political figure seems to have the guts to speak out against Dudu Myeni, says Solly Moeng.

  • The mp3 revolution

    Ian Mann takes a look at the war between digital music and the compact disc.

All data is delayed
See More

Bangladesh factory fire concerns groups

Jan 27 2013 17:04

Dhaka - International labour rights groups called on Sunday for global clothing retailers to ensure adequate safety measures for garment workers in Bangladesh after a blaze killed seven employees at a small factory.

Saturday's fire gutted Smart Exports Garment Ltd, just two months after Bangladesh's worst ever factory blaze killed 112 workers and injured 150 at Tazreen Fashions Ltd, a multi-storey garment workshop in Dhaka's Ashulia suburb.

In a joint statement issued after the latest blaze, three organisations asked retailers and brands to sign a fire safety agreement with Bangladesh.

"After more than two decades of the apparel industry knowing about the risks to these workers, nothing substantial has changed," the executive director of the International Labour Rights Forum, Judy Gearhart, said in the statement.

"Brands still keep their audit results secret. They still walk away when it suits them and trade unions are still marginalised, weakening workers' ability to speak up when they are at risk," she added.

The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) also signed the statement.

Another rights group, the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights (ILGHR), said on its website it had gained access to the gutted factory and found seven women workers had been crushed to death as employees tried to escape the fire.

Firefighters and police said the cause of the latest blaze was not yet known. Survivors said it could have been caused by an electrical short circuit at the factory on the upper floor of a two-storey building in the crowded Mohammadpur area.

Kalpona Akter, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity told Reuters that two garment factories had subcontracted orders to the factory's owner, Smart Export Garments Ltd.

She said the company was not a member of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association and had no license from fire prevention or labour bodies.

An official report into the Tazreen blaze in November concluded it was the result of both sabotage and negligence.

Bangladesh has about 4 500 garment factories and is the world's biggest exporter of clothing after China. Clothing makes up 80% of its $24bn annual exports.

bangladesh  |  workers



Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:


Marketing is a big concern in SA's small business community, followed by a lack of confidence and partnering with the wrong people, according to a survey.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

The 25 basis points interest rate increase is:

Previous results · Suggest a vote