TAZREEN Fire Part 1 24 November 2012- 20 Nov. 2013

19:40:26 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:

An overview of articles about the fire Asulia 24 November 2012.
In a chronology of time publishing.
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Locals try to douse the flames in Tazreen Fashion near Dhaka Export Processing Zone in Ashulia last night. The fire gutted several floors of the eight-storied factory and nine workers perished when they jumped to their deaths to escape the fire. Photo: Palash Khan
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* Fire kills 5 at a Savar RMG unit:

At least five workers were killed and around 100 injured in a devastating fire at a garment factory outside Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ) in Savar yesterday evening.

Harunur Rashid, assistant manager of Women and Children Health Centre in Jamgara of Ashulia, told The Daily Star that they received the bodies of four female workers who died after jumping off the factory building.

A male worker died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital around 10:00pm.
The deceased who could not be identified immediately are aged between 20 and 28.
The injured were rushed to the hospital for treatment, said Harun. Ten of them were referred to different hospitals in Dhaka as their condition was critical.

Fire officials suspected that the fire originated from the ground floor of eight-storey Tajnin Fashion around 7:00pm and spread up to the fourth floor|.
The rescuers brought down many of the workers trapped on the rooftop of the building.
Nine firefighting units from Ashulia, Savar, Dhamrai, Gazipur and the capital were trying to douse the flame when the report was filed around 10:30pm.
Most of the victims — both deceased and injured — were female workers who suffered injuries after jumping off different floors of the building.
to read.
& read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd     

* Ashulia RMG factory fire kills 5, injures over 100:

At least five workers were killed and more than 100 injured as a fierce fire broke out at a multi-storey readymade garment (RMG) unit at Nishchintapur near Jirabo in Ashulia on Saturday evening. 

Witnesses, locals and factory authorities said the fire, originated from an electric short-circuit at 7:05pm on the 3rd floor of the 8-storey building which houses Tajreen Fashion, could not be tamed even after Army personnel joined the firefighters, police and the locals in their 4-hour frenetic efforts to put out the blaze till filing the report at 11pm.
One unidentified male worker of the garment factory was declared dead after she was brought to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) at 9:30pm while his fiver injured colleagues — Shantona Begum, 25, Morsheda, 25, Miraj Ali, 25, Ramija Begum, 30, and another male worker were admitted to the hospital, UNB’s DMCH correspondent reports. read more. & read more.
 

* 5 killed, over 300 injured:

At least five garments workerswere burnt to death and over 300 injured in a frive at a readymade garments(RMG) unit at Narshigopur at Ashulia under Savar on Saturday evening.

The identities of the ill-fatedworkers could not be known immediately.
Fire service officials said thefire broke out in the ground floor of the ‘Tazrin Fashion,’ a 6-storeiedexport-oriented garments unit, around 7:05pm and raged through the first andsecond floors where hundreds of workers were working in the evening shift.

Later, a plume of smoke shroudeddifferent floors of the building and forced             hundreds of workers in thefactory to jump out from the inferno.
Sources said a warehouse of rawmaterial was located on the ground floor of the building.
On information five fire fightingunits from Gazipur, Tongi, and Savar EPZ rushed to the spot to bring the blazeunder control.
The fire fighters were trying todouse the fire while filing the report at 9.30pm.
to read. & read more.
 

* Savar RMG factory fire kills 9:

At least nine people, including seven women, died and over 100 were injured as a fire broke out at a Toba Group garment factory at Nischintapur in Savar on the outskirts of the capital Saturday evening.

The fire broke out at Tazreen Fashions Limited around 7:30pm and it came under control around 11:45pm, police said.
Ashulia Industrial Police Sub-Inspector Moktar Hossain told reporters that six bodies of the deceased female workers were at the Women and Children Health Centre at Narasinghapur in Savar.
Their identities could not be known immediately, he added. read more. & read more.
 

* At least 9 workers killed:

At least nine workers were killed and around 100 injured in a devastating fire at a garment factory near Dhaka Export Processing Zone in Ashulia last night.

The dead included seven female and two male workers of the factory, Officer-in-Charge of Ashulia Police Station SM Badrul Alam told The Daily Star around 1:45am today.
Police, fire-fighters and witnesses said those killed in the incident did not suffer burns, but they died after jumping off different floors of the eight-storey Tazreen Fashion at Nischintapur in a bid to escape the blaze that started on the ground floor around 6:50pm.

The flames soon spread up to the fourth floor.
Fifteen fire-fighting units from Ashulia, Savar, Dhamrai, Tongi and the capital were trying to douse the fire as of filing this report around 2:45am.
Panic-stricken workers, especially the women, started running helter-skelter and jumped off the building. This left many of them seriously injured.
Four of those who jumped died on the spot.

Harunur Rashid, assistant manager of the nearby Centre for Women and Child Health, said they received the bodies of four female workers. They were identified as Moriyum, 25, Morsheda, 26, Mousumi, 26 and Nurunnesa, 30.
A male worker, identified as Maruf, 22, died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital around 10:00pm.
The identity of the four other dead could not be known immediately as relatives took away their bodies from the spot, said OC Badrul.

Eight other workers with head, hand and leg injuries were undergoing treatment at DMCH.
The injured were first rushed to the Centre for Women and Child Health for treatment. “We treated 53 while 10 were referred to different hospitals in Dhaka as their condition was critical,” said Harunur Rashid. read more. & read more.
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* ‘Savar fire death toll may cross 100′:

Police and fire-fighters on Sunday feared that the death toll from the fire at a garment factory in Savar’s Nischintapur might cross one hundred as many workers were still trapped inside the building.

Over 100 were also injured from the fire that broke out at the Tazreen Fashions Limited of Toba Group at around 7:30pm on Saturday. Ten units of fire service managed to douse the fire around 11:45pm.
Dhaka’s Superintendent of Police Habibur Rahman told bdnews24.com: “After speaking with the rescuers, I think at least 100 people have died in the fire.”

Rescue workers in the wee hours on Sunday had confirmed of recovering at least nine dead bodies, including seven of female workers. At least 100 workers were still trapped inside the factory until that time, they added.
Fire Brigade Director (Operation) Maj Mahbub on Sunday told bdnews24.com: “There are more dead bodies under the blazed wreckage inside the building. The rescue operation is still underway.” read more.

* Garment factory blaze kills 104 in Bangladesh:

More than 100 workers were killed when a fierce blaze tore through a busy garment factory in Bangladesh, forcing people to leap from high windows to escape the choking smoke and flames.

Firefighters battled for several hours to control the fire, which broke out in the ground-floor warehouse of the nine-storey Tazreen Fashion factory, 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of the capital Dhaka on Saturday evening.

Survivors told how panicked staff, mostly women, desperately tried to escape the blazing building, which made clothes for international brands including Dutch chain C&A and the Hong Kong-based Li & Fung company.

“There were more than 1,000 workers trapped in the factory,” one worker who gave her name only as Romesa, 42, told local media from her hospital bed. read more.

* Bangladesh factory fire death toll soars to 121: fire chief:

The death toll from a fire at a Bangladeshi factory soared to at least 121 as rescue workers recovered 112 bodies Sunday, the national fire chief told AFP.

“We’ve found 112 dead bodies this morning,” fire brigade director general Brigadier General Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah told AFP.
“We resumed our search this morning and found the bodies lying on different floors of the factory building,” he said.

The fire broke out in the ground-floor warehouse of the multi-storey Tazreen Fashion factory 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of Dhaka on Saturday evening, trapping hundreds of workers on the upper floors, police said.
Police inspector Mostofa Kamal had previously told AFP that nine workers died and about 100 workers were injured.

Kamal said many workers jumped from the factory’s upper floors to escape the flames before firefighters arrived to put the blaze out. read more. & read more.
 

* Ashulia RMG factory fire rises to 124:

The death toll from a fire that raged through a garment factory in Ashulia rose to 124 till Sunday morning.
The fire that started at Tazreen Fashion near Dhaka Export Processing Zone in Ashulia on Saturday evening came under control around 5:55am Sunday, said Fire Service and Civil Defence sources.

Sources said the death toll may rise as rescue operation was going on when this report was filed around 11:12.
Initially nine deaths were recorded on Saturday night and more 115 charred bodies were recovered from the factory on Sunday morning.

Police, fire-fighters and witnesses on Saturday said those killed in the incident did not suffer burns, but they died after jumping off different floors of the eight-storey Tazreen Fashion at Nischintapur in a bid to escape the blaze that started on the ground floor around 6:50pm.

Meanwhile, Siddiqur Rahman, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told The Daily Star that the BGMEA will provide Tk one lakh to each of the death victim’s family.to read.
daily star bd

* Scores killed in Bangladesh factory blaze:

A fire in a garment factory leaves at least 120 dead while a flyover collapse in the south kills more than a dozen.

A deadly fire has swept through a clothes factory on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, killing at least 120 people, Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reported.
The fire at the nine-story factory, operated by Tajnin Fashion, in the Ashulia industrial area, started on the ground floor on Saturday night and quickly spread. Firefighters took nearly five hours to extinguish the flames.

Many of the employees fled the flames on the first floor and went to the top of the building, becoming trapped.
Most of the victims died because they jumped from the building to escape the flames, a police official said. The death toll could still rise, witnesses said.

The cause of the fire, according to the authorities, was a bad electrical circuit.
“There’s an investigation underway to try to find out [exactly] what caused this accident,” Haque said, adding that similar accidents “happen often”.

Since 2006, more than 600 people have died in Bangladesh because of fires and lack of safety standards in crowded factories.
Bangladesh has around 4,500 garment factories that make clothes for brands including Tesco, Wal-Mart, JC Penny, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Kohl’s and Carrefour.
read & see more (video).

* RMG Fire: Official death toll stands at 111; rescue operation abandoned:

The death toll from the RMG factory fire at Nishchintapur in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital stood at 111 as the authorities abandoned the rescue operation at about 2 pm on Sunday.

“The death toll from the fire incident stands at 111,” said Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Yusuf Harun on completion of the rescue operation.

Contradicting the official figure, workers union leaders claimed that the death toll will be 125. “We don’t accept the official figure as the actual figure is 125,” said Sujon Mahmud of Jago Bangladesh Garment Sramik Federation.

Earlier in the morning, senior station officer of DEPZ Fire Service Station Anwar Hossain said the number of casualties in the fire already reached 125 and it would rise further as the rescue operation was going on.

Major Mahbub, Director (operation) at the Fire Brigade Headquarters, however, said, “The number of casualties in the fire incident would over 100 as we’ve recovered more bodies overnight.”

He said the death toll may go up further as there is a possibility of the recovery of more bodies from the fire-ravaged 8th-storey building.
read more. & read more.  & read more.
    

* Garment factory blaze kills 109 in Bangladesh:

Rescue workers in Bangladesh recovered 109 bodies today after a fire tore through a garment factory, forcing many workers to jump from high windows to escape the smoke and flames.

Firefighters battled for several hours to control the blaze, which broke out on the ground floor of the nine-story Tazreen Fashion plant, 30 kilometers north of the capital Dhaka last night.
Survivors told how panicked staff, mostly women, desperately tried to escape the factory, which the owner said made clothes for international brands including Dutch chain C&A and the Hong Kong-based Li & Fung company.
“There were more than 1,000 workers trapped in the factory,” one worker who gave her name only as Romesa, 42, told local media from her hospital bed.
(…)
The owner of the Tazreen factory, Delwar Hossain, told AFP by telephone that the cause of the fire was not yet known but he denied his premises were unsafe.
“It is a huge loss for my staff and my factory. This is the first time we have ever had a fire at one of my seven factories,” he said, confirming that the premises made clothes for C&A and Li & Fung.

Relatives of the workers made phone calls to those inside the factory as it burned, locals told AFP, and one witness said firefighters were helpless as the blaze took hold.
“I came to the factory premises and found workers crying for help,” Mohammad Ratan said. “As the fire spread to the upper floors, I saw many jumping from windows.”
(…)
According to the Clean Clothes Campaign, a Amsterdam-based textile rights group, since 2006 at least 500 Bangladeshi garment workers have died in factory fires.
read more.

* PM expresses shock at loss of lives in Ashulia garment fire:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed profound shock at the loss of lives of garment workers in a devastating fire in a factory at Ashulia last night.

The Prime Minister asked the concerned authorities for proper treatment of the injured persons and donated Taka one lakh as immediate support to the family of each the victims, PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad said.

After receiving the information of the fire incident last night, the Prime Minister asked concerned officials to conduct the fire extinguishing and rescue operation with highest endeavor, Azad said.

Sheikh Hasina prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls and expressed her deep sympathy to the bereaved family members. to read.


Bangladeshi people and firefighters battle a fire at a garment factory in the Savar neighbourhood in Dhaka, late on Saturday. Photo: AP

* Bangladeshi Factory Fire: Brands accused of Crimimnal Negligence:

The Clean Clothes Campaign, along with trade unions and labour rights organisations in Bangladesh and around the world is calling for immediate action from international brands following yesterday’s fire in Dhaka Bangladesh, which cost the lives over one hundred garment workers.

The killed and injured workers were producing garments for international clothing brands when their factory, Tazreen Fashions, went up in flames. According to their website Tazreen produced for a host of well known brand names including C&A, Carrefour, KIK and Walmart.  The Clean Clothes Campaign believes that international brands have shown ongoing negligence in failing to address the safety issues highlighted by previous fires, and that this leaves them with responsibility for yet another tragic loss of life.

Many of the workers jumped to their deaths trying to escape from the six story building, others, unable to escape the blaze, were burned alive. The death toll continues to rise as rescue workers plough through the remains of the devastated factory. One fire fighter at the scene reported that there wasn’t a single fire exit on the outside of the factory.  First reports suggest the fire was started by an electrical short circuit. The cause of over 80% of all factory fires in Bangladesh are due to faulty wiring.

“These brands have known for years that many of the factories they choose to work with are death traps. Their failure to take action mounts to criminal negligence” says Ineke Zeldenrust from the Clean Clothes Campaign.

Together with our partners in Bangladesh the CCC is calling call for an independent and transparent investigation into the causes of the fire, for full and fair compensation to be paid to the victims and their families and importantly concrete action from all parties involved to prevent future tragedies.

“As we yet again mourn the loss of scores of garment workers in Bangladesh, we demand that brands step up their game. Tragedy after tragedy underlines our belief that simple, cosmetic changes to existing programmes simply aren’t enough. Action needs to be taken to address the root causes of these fires” said Ms Zeldenrust.

The CCC, together with local and global unions and labour rights organisations has developed a sector-wide program for action that includes an programme of independent and transparent inspections, an obligatory upgrading of the buildings supplying participating brands, a review of all existing laws and safety regulations, a commitment to pay prices that can cover the costs involved and the direct involvement of trade unions in worker training on health and safety. The Clean Clothes campaign is now renewing its demand for brands need to sign on immediately. read more.

* Ashulia Fire: Mourning Day on any day this week:

The government has decided to observe Mourning Day on any day this week as mark of respect to those killed in a tragic apparel factory blaze at Ashulia on the outskirts of capital Dhaka on Saturday night.  

“A condolence motion will be placed in tomorrow’s (Monday’s) cabinet meeting in this regard and the Mourning Day will be observed on any day after that,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said after a meeting of Victory Day Observance Committee at her official residence Ganobhaban in the evening.

A one-minute silence was also observed at the meeting showing respect to the RMG workers killed in the devastating fire. read more.

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* Factory Fire Kills More Than 100 People in Bangladesh:

Firefighters tried to control a fire at a garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh, on Saturday. Hasan Raza/Associated Press

More than 100 people died Saturday and Sunday in a fire at a garment factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, in one of the worst industrial tragedies in that country.

It took firefighters more than 17 hours to put out the blaze at the factory, Tazreen Fashions, after it started Saturday evening, a retired fire official said by telephone from Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital. At least 111 people were killed and scores of workers were taken to hospitals with burns and smoke inhalation injuries.

“The main difficulty was to put out the fire; the sufficient approach road was not there,” said the retired official, Salim Nawaj Bhuiyan, who now runs a fire safety company in Dhaka. “The fire service had to take great trouble to approach the factory.”

Bangladesh’s garment industry, the second largest exporter of clothing after China, has a notoriously poor record of fire safety. Since 2006, more than 500 Bangladeshi workers have died in garment factory fires, according to Clean Clothes Campaign, an anti-sweatshop advocacy group based in Amsterdam. Experts say many of the fires could have been easily avoided if the factories had taken the right precautions. Many factories are in cramped neighborhoods, have too few fire escapes and widely flout safety measures. The industry employs more than three million workers in Bangladesh, mostly women.

Activists say that global clothing brands need to take responsibility for working conditions in Bangladeshi factories that produce the clothes that they sell.

“These brands have known for years that many of the factories they choose to work with are death traps,” Ineke Zeldenrust, the international coordinator for Clean Clothes Campaign, said in a statement. “Their failure to take action amounts to criminal negligence.”

The fire at the Tazreen factory in Savar, northwest of Dhaka, started in a warehouse on the ground floor and quickly spread up the building, which Reuters reported is nine stories high. The two-year-old factory employed about 1,500 workers and had sales of $35 million a year, according to information on the company’s Web site. It made T-shirts, polo shirts and fleece jackets.

Most of the workers who died were on the first and second floors and were killed, fire officials said, because there were not enough exits for them to get out. read more.

* Unclaimed bodies to be kept at DMCH:

The unclaimed bodies of the victims of the devastating fire that swept through a garment factory in the Ashulia have been kept at Dhaka Medical College Hospital morgue, although it was earlier decided that Anjuman Mofidul Islam would be given custody of those.

The worst-ever factory blaze in Bangladesh broke out on the ground floor of the multi-storied Tazreen Fashions Limited of Tuba Group in Savar’s Nischintapur around 7:30pm on Saturday and claimed lives of at least 110 people.

Ten fire-fighting units put out the flames after more than five hours of frantic efforts but the cause of the fire was yet to be known. The administration, police and Fire Brigade have formed three separate committees to investigate the reason.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Moshiuddoula had told bdnews24.com at the scene that Anjuman Mufidul Islam had been given custody of 58 bodies as no-one came to claim them. read more.

* Tazreen Fashions was ‘highly risky’:

Importers were not satisfied with Tazreen Fashions Limited, the readymade garment factory in Ashulia, where a fire killed at least 110 of its workers, and ranked its working condition as ‘highly risky’

A document posted on the factory’s website shows the main importer of the factory, Walmart, listed it, a sister concern of Tuba Group, in the ‘Orange’ category, just below ‘Red,’ which prohibits signing of any deal with it.

It surfaced in the coverage of the influential US newspaper The New York Times on the worst ever factory fire in Bangladesh.

According to The New York Times, an “ethical sourcing” official for the Walmart flagged “violations and/or conditions which were deemed to be high risk” at the Ashulia factory on May 16, 2011. read more.

* Deadly Ashulia fire toll reaches 110:

A devastating fire that swept through a garment factory in the Ashulia industrial belt near capital Dhaka on Saturday has left at least 110 people dead.

The worst ever factory blaze in Bangladesh broke out on the ground floor of the multi-storied Tazreen Fashions Limited around 7:30pm in Savar’s Nischintapur, officials said.
Ten fire-fighting units tamed the flames after over four hours of frantic efforts but what caused the fire remains unknown.

Workers who managed to escape the fire by jumping from windows alleged authorities prevented them leaving the factory after the fire alarm went off saying the alarm was not working properly, only to raise the death counts.
Evidence suggests the factory was not compliant and importers, including its major buyer Wal-Mart, were not satisfied with the factory’s working condition. In May, 2011, Wal-Mart in its evaluation ranked it under ‘Orange’ category. read more.

* Govt assistance for Ctg, Ashulia victims:

Disaster Management and Relief Ministry on Sunday allocated Tk 28 lakh for the victims of the fire incident at a RMG factory at Ashulia in Savar and girder collapse of an under-construction flyover in Chittagong city.

Families of each deceased in the fire incident will get Tk 20,000, while each injured Tk 5,000, said a PID handout.
Families of each deceased will receive Tk 20,000 in the Chittagong incident and each injured Tk 5,000.
About 124 people were killed and many others injured in the two incidents on Saturday night.  to read.

* Ashulia fire death toll now 111, thousands take to streets:

Several thousand garment workers are staging a rowdy protest in Ashulia on Monday demanding punishment of those responsible for Saturday’s fire that claimed the lives of 111 people.

Vehicular movement on the Dhaka-Tangail highway remains suspended since the morning following their demonstration, witnesses said.
SM Badrul Alam, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station, on Monday said the Tazreen Fashion Ltd fire death toll reached to 111.

In the wake of the situation most of the garment units in Ashulia zone have been declared closed for Monday to avoid any untoward incident, police sources said.
Witnesses said thousands of workers of the fire-ravaged Tazreen Fashion and its nearby factories took to the streets around 9:30am.

They also blocked roads in Jamgarah, Narsinghapur, Nischintapur and Jirabo areas, halting transport movement, an official of Tazreen Fashion Ltd said.
Additional contingent of police have been deployed in and around the area to avert any untoward incident.

The workers on Monday said they wanted to know the exact death toll in the fire that raged through the garment factory at Nischintapur near Dhaka Export Processing Zone in Ashulia on Saturday evening. read more.

* RMG workers block roads in Ashulia:

Workers of fire-damaged Tazreen Fashion and other nearby garment factories blocked different roads in Ashulia Monday morning demanding punishment of those responsible for Saturday evening fire that claimed lives of 109 people.

Thousands of workers took the streets around 9:30am and blocked roads in Jamgarah, Narsinghapur, Nischintapur and Jirabo halting transport movement, an official of Tazreen Fashion said.
The death toll could rise as several people went missing.

The workers on Monday said they want to know the exact figure of the death toll in the fire that raged through the garment factory at Nischintapur near Dhaka Export Processing Zone in Ashulia on Saturday evening.
The fire came under control around 5:55am Sunday. read more.

* Desperate search for Ashulia fire victims:

Akram Hossain searched every corner of the fire-devastated factory of Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia for his wife Lipi Begum.

“Oh, god where do I search her, now,” said a helpless Akram.
It was the third time since Sunday morning that 30-year-old Akram had come to the factory to find the body of his beloved wife who was also a victim of the Saturday’s fire.

The fire, which broke out at the ground floor of the factory Saturday evening and continued till Sunday dawn, cost the lives of at least 109 workers and left over hundred injured– worst ever in the history of $20 billion export-earner clothing industry.
Of the dead, 54 bodies, which could not be identified and remained unclaimed, were handed over to the voluntary organisation Anjuman Mofidul Islam.

Akram moved around the ashes of fabrics, burned flesh, debris of ceramic tiles, sewing machines, charred electric wires and examined everything repetitively in the hope of finding his wife, whom he had married two and half years ago.
read more.

* Fire hits second Bangladesh garment factory:

Blaze engulfs 12-storey building just two days after at least 110 textile workers perish in similar incident in Dhaka.
A fire that broke out in a 12-storey building housing four different garment factories in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, has been almost brought under control, police say.There were no reports of deaths in Monday’s blaze in the suburb of Uttara, but eight workers were injured due to heavy smoke, Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah, fire brigade director-general, told Reuters news agency.The fire occurred just days after a similar incident killed at least 110 textile workers in a different facility in the city. read and see more (video).

* Dhaka fire strips bare garment trade horrors:

Strange as it may sound, it is the owners of a garment factory where more than a 100 perished in a deadly fire two days ago who are playing the victim rather than the perpetrator. 

“We are the sufferers. We are the victims,” insisted SMH Nodon, the director of marketing at Tuba Group, the parent company of Tazreen Fashion, where a reported 600 people working overtime shifts were trapped by raging flames on Saturday evening.

After some arm-twisting by the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the trade association representing factory owners, the management has agreed to pay $1,230 as compensation for the families of each victim, amounting to a total of about $152,000. In comparison, the materials destroyed were worth about $12.3m; the construction of the factory cost about the same amount.

“This is a 200 crore taka [$25mn] project. How it got destroyed, we don’t know. If we did we would take action,” said Nodon, whose company produces clothing for Walmart, C&A, and Hong Kong-based mega-supplier Li & Fung.
Read and See more (video).

* UTTARA GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:

* Fire again at Uttara factory:

A fire broke out at a garment factory at Dakshin Khan in the capital’s Uttara Monday morning.

The fire that broke out at a garment factory at Dakshin Khan in the capital’s Uttara Monday morning has been brought under control.

No casualty was reported till 11:00am when the report was filed.
The fire originated at the 12-storey building of Euro-Bangla Garment at Mollartek around 10:05am, fire service sources said.
Thirteen firefighting units rushed to the spot and were trying to control the blaze.

to read.  & read more. & read more.
   

* Another apparel factory catches fire at Dakhsin Khan:

Two days after a massive fire in a garment factory at Ashulia, another apparel factory caught fire at Mollartek under Dakhsin Khan thana in the city on Monday morning.

Fire service sources said the fire broke at about 10:05 am on the first and second floors of a 12-storey building that houses the RMG unit ‘Euro Bangla Garments’.
On information, 13 fire fighting units rushed to the spot and were trying to extinguish the fire till filing of the report at 11.00 am.

No casualty was reported, but many workers of the factory remained trapped in the inferno, fire service sources said. read more.

* Bangladesh: agreement on fire safety in textiles required:

More than 100 workers died and as many were injured in a horrific fire at the Tazreen Fashion garment factory near Dhaka on 24 November. IndustriALL Global Union calls for a government and union agreement on fire and building safety in Bangladesh.

The fire broke out in the evening ripping through the multi-floor garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka in Bangladesh, burning the factory to the ground. Female workers were cut off as piles of fabric that filled corridors ignited. Early reports indicate that second and third floors were locked forcing many workers to leap to their death from upper floors. The reported 124 deaths and over 150 injuries are expected to rise.

Profoundly shocked by the incident, IndustriALL Global Union conveys its condolences to the families of the victims and its solidarity to the injured workers. The massive fire disaster did not only kill more than 100 workers but also killed the future of their families, their dreams and their hopes.

Fire disasters, especially in the garment sector, are on the rise in many countries of the Asia Pacific Region. The Bangladeshi government reports that 414 apparel workers died in fires between 2006 and 2009. In 2010, two large fires resulted in the deaths of 50 Bangladeshi workers. More than 300 workers were killed in devastating factory fires at a garment factory in Karachi and a shoe factory in Lahore, Pakistan on 11 September 2012.

Together with the unions in the Asia Pacific region, IndustriALL Global Union will put pressure on governments to properly enforce national laws on health and safety issues in general and on fire safety in particular. IndustriALL Global Union demands that:

  • Governments must play a critical role in long-term, sustainable change by updating laws and implementing regulations, improving factory inspections, and establishing the tripartite framework necessary for appropriate relations between employer and labour stakeholders.
  • Factory owners and operators must commit to facilitate and support a continuing cycle of safety management based on ongoing dialogue between management and trade unions or worker elected representatives.
  • Brand owners and retailers must verify that the factories they use comply with applicable safety standards and must ensure that their pricing and sourcing practices make this feasible.read more.

* Labor Rights Group Calls on Brands to Join Fire Safety Program Following Deadly Fire at Factory Supplying US and European Brands:

Death Toll at Walmart Supplier is Highest in Bangladesh Garment Industry to Date

More than one hundred workers died as a result of the garment factory fire that started on Saturday evening at Tazreen Fashions, owned by Tuba Group. Together with our partners in Bangladesh and around the world, ILRF is calling for an independent and transparent investigation into the causes of the fire; full and fair compensation to be paid to injured workers and to the families of the deceased; and effective action from all parties involved to prevent future tragedies.

In addition to finding evidence that the factory produced Walmart’s Faded Glory brand, researchers found over a dozen other brand logos on clothing and documents in the factory, including Ace, C&A, Dickies, Fashion Basics, Sean Combs Co.’s Enyce brand, Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s brands P.G. field and Country Rose, Hippo, Infinity Woman, Karl Rieker GMBH & Co., Kebo Raw, Kik, Piaza Italia, Soffe, and True Desire.

For several years, the International Labor Rights Forum has been tracking and responding to factory fires in Bangladesh’s garment industry. This is the most deadly factory fire in the history of the apparel industry in Bangladesh, which is the world’s second largest apparel exporter after China. Export data has indicated that Walmart is the second largest buyer of garments from Bangladesh, after H&M.
read more.

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* Nation to mourn Ashulia-Ctg tragedy Tuesday :

All RMG units across the country will also be closed for the day; Cabinet okays bill to double the fine for smoking in public places.

The government has announced national mourning day for Tuesday in memory of the people killed in garment factory fire in Ashulia and flyover collapse in Chittagong.

It also announced a one-day vacation at all ready-made garment factories across the country for Tuesday.
The decision came at the weekly cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
At least 111 people were killed and 100 injured in a devastating fire at Tazreen Fashion Ltd at Nischintapur on the capital’s suburb Ashulia on Saturday.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
      

* Ashulia holocaust:

At least 113 workers were killedin a devastating fire which swept through a multi-stored garment factory atAshulia on Saturday evening, leaving several hundred others seriously injured.Number of casualties may rise.

It razed like a holocaust in theeight storied building burning people alive and sending gushing smokes in theair. Never before the country’s garment industry saw such inferno killingworkers inside while rescuers and relatives were hapless witnesses to thetragedy.

The blaze broke out at 6.45pm at’Tazreen Fashions Ltd’ in the Ashulia industrial area on the outskirt of thecity. Tazreen Fashions Ltd, is a sister concern of Tuba Group which exportsapparels to reputed global brand and retailer like Wal-Mart and H&M.
read more.

* Ashulia RMG Fire: Workers stage demo, block road:

Angry garment workers staged demonstrations and blocked Abdullahpur–Bypile road in Ashulia on Monday, demanding punishment of those responsible for Saturday’s fire at Tazreen Fashion that claimed the lives of their 122 co-workers.

Witnesses said around 20,000 workers of different RMG units gathered in front of Tazreen Fashion at Nishchintapur on the outskirts of the capital at about 8:30am and staged demonstrations also demanding identifying the charred bodies.

The angry garment workers threw brickbats at the factory.
On information, police rushed in and dispersed them.
Later, the garment workers took to the street and blocked the Abdullahpur-Bypile road for two hours from 10 am. read more. & read more.
 

* Ashulia fire death toll now 111:

The death toll from Ashulia readymade garment factory fire rose to 111 on Monday, two days after the incident.

Meanwhile, several thousand garment workers staged a rowdy protest in Ashulia on Monday morning demanding punishment of the people responsible for Saturday’s fire.
Vehicular movements on the Dhaka-Tangail highway remained suspended for two hours since the morning following their demonstration, witnesses said.
In the meantime, police suspected that the fire incident was a premeditated one.

Some unidentified criminals might set fire to the factory in a pre-planned way and that’s why police filed a case against several unknown persons, said Badrul Alam Sheikh, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station.
In the wake of the situation, most of the garment units in Ashulia zone have been declared closed for Monday to avoid any untoward incident, police sources said.
read & see more (video).

* Probe body in Ashulia:

A four-member committee formed by Home Ministry to investigate the Ashulia fire incident reached Nischintapur to visit the fire-damaged Tazreen Fashion Ltd Monday morning.

The team led by Mainuddin Khandakar, additional secretary of Home Ministry, reached the garment factory around noon.
The fire that broke out at Tazreen Fashion Ltd Saturday evening killed at least 111 workers.

The three other members of the committee are: Abdus Salam, director general of Uttara Industrial Police, Abdus Salam, director of Fire Service and Civil Defence, Dhaka and Sayed Mahmud Belal Haider, deputy director (fire) of Home Ministry.
The committee that formed on Sunday will submit its reports and recommendations in 15 working days. read more.

* Sampling for DNA tests starts:

Forensic officials on Monday started sampling for DNA test of 59 workers who were charred beyond recognition in Ashulia garment factory fire on Saturday .
Hospital sources said officials of forensic laboratory of Criminal Investigation Department; and Forensic and DNA departments of Dhaka Medical College started collecting the samples from the remains of the bodies around 12:30pm.
The bodies are now kept at Dhaka Medical Hospital Morgue.

The bodies will be buried at Jurain Graveyard after completion of sample collection, the morgue sources said.
The forensic officials will later collect samples from the relatives, who will come to the hospital to identification of the bodies.
The death toll from Ashulia readymade garment factory fire rose to 111 on Monday, two days after the incident.
Of the deceased, the relatives and family members identified and took away the bodies of 52 workers. to read.

* Families keep searching through rubble:

Grief-stricken families were still looking for the members of their families in the rubble after the fire that had broken out on Saturday in Tazreen Fashions Limited at Ashulia in Dhaka, killing at least 111 people.

Eager to get their relatives back, even dead, they were searching every corner, the rubble of tiles, sewing machines and even bunt coils of electric wire.
They were running between the Nischintapur School where the bodies were initially kept for identification and Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where the injured were being treated or yet-to-be-identified bodies were kept in the mortuary. They were even visiting Anjuman-e-Mafidul Islam where some unclaimed bodies were kept for burial.
The authorities failed to say how many workers were still missing as a number of people were saying that they could not contact their relatives after the fire that broke out on Saturday evening. read more.

* Fakhrul visits fire-ravaged Savar RMG factory:

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday visited the fire-hit RMG factory at Nishchintapur in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital.

Party sources said directed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia Fakhrul along with party vice-chairman Sadeque Hossain Khoka went to Nishchintapur at about 2pm.
They visited the fire-razed factory and talked to the family members of the victims of the incident.
The BNP leaders also talked to the law enforcers to know the details of the incident and the extant of losses caused by the fire.

Talking to reporters, Fakhrul said his party is extremely shocked at the loss of lives of so many people in the divesting fire.
He urged the government to ensure quick and proper treatment of the injured in the incident and prayed for their early recovery.
Fakhrul demanded quick compensation for the family members of those killed in the fire. read more.

* HC order sought:

A writ petition was filed with the High Court seeking its directives to take action against the culprits of the fire incident, give compensation to the victims and investigate into the matter.

An HC bench comprising Justice Mirza Hossain Haider and Justice Kazi M Izarul Haque Akanda may hear the writ petition, said petitioners’ lawyer Barrister Dr Kamal Hossain.
Ain O Shalish Kendra, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Nijera Kori and BRAC filed the petition on Monday afternoon. read more.

* Ashulia tragedy: 2 arrested:

Two people were arrested on Monday in connection with the Ashulia factory fire tragedy.

The arrestees were identified as Sumi, a factory worker and Zakir, a floor- in-charge of the Tazreen Fashion Ltd, the home ministry sources said.
Habibur Rahman Khan, superintendent of police of Dhaka district, told The Independent that they are now being interrogated on police custody. read more.

* Ashulia RMG fire for Tk 20,000?:

Sumi Begum, 27, a worker ofDebunia Garments in Ashulia, made confessional statement on Monday noon beforea Magistrate that she set fire to the factory that she received Tk. 20,000  from an official of the factory.

Judicial Magistrate Wasim Shaikhrecorded her confessional statement. Earlier, Sumi with another accused MdZakir Hossain, 26, were produced before the court. Zakir was placed on afour-day remand.
Sumi confessed that she hadcommitted the crime after getting the amount from official Zakir Hossain.

The factory authority detectedSumi setting fire on the video of CCTV camera.
General Manager of the factoryNirodh Barua filed a case with Ashulia Police Station in this connection.
Investigation Officer Farid Ahmedsaid that police was investigating whether some others were involved in thefire incident. to read.

* Bgmea sees sabotage:

Leaders of Bangladesh GarmentsManufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Monday alleged that thelatest fire indecent at the Ashulia garments factory might be a ‘sabotage’ asthe apparel sector is facing local and international conspiracy.

“We cannot rule out thepossibility of a sabotage in the case of Tazreen Garment’s incident when thesector is facing local and international conspiracy,” said Md ShafiulIslam Mohiuddin, President of BGMEA at a press conference held in the cityyesterday.

He said Bangladesh has now becomethe leading apparel exporters in the world after China and its exports reachednearly $20 billion. “As the country is emerging as a leader of globalapparel business a vested quarters out to destroy the image of the industry sothat global buyers switch away,” Mohiuddin added.

“Local and internationalconspiracies emerged as a threat to the existence of the biggest export earnerand employer for the country and we are concerned about it,” he added. to read.

* BGMEA smells ‘foul play’:

Garment makers yesterday urged the government to open a probe into the possibility of sabotage in the nation’s worst factory fire.

“The recent fires might be acts of sabotage. The government should look into it,” Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said in a hurriedly-called press conference at the trade body office.
The police picked up two people on Sunday who were trying to set fire to Debonia Fashion Ltd, a garment factory, Mohiuddin said. The same day, the fire ripped through three garment factories housed in one building in Uttara, he said.

“We also found matchsticks at Babylon Garment. I believe it is happening to create instability in the garment industry,” Mohiuddin said. read more. & read more.
 

* Garment fire planned arson: PM:

The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Monday said the incidents of fire in garment factories, including Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia and at Dakkhin Khan in the city, were not ‘accidents’ rather ‘planned arson’ and it was time to identify the evil forces behind such crimes.

The prime minister concluding an unscheduled discussion on a condolence motion for the dead in the Ashulia fire and girder collapse in Chittagong said they were not isolated incidents rather linked to the same string.

She led parliament in condoling the death of innocent people in the fire accidents in two garment factories in Dhaka and the girder collapse in Chittagong.
Hasina in this context referred to the incident in which a woman garment factory worker was caught after attempting to set fire to the factory of Debonair
Fashions in Ashulia on Sunday and her confession that someone had paid her Tk 20,000 for it. read more. & read more.
 

* RMG factory fire: Offenders to be brought to book: Home Minister:

Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir on Tuesday said that those responsible for the incident of fire at a garment factory in Ashulia will be brought to book.

All the previous major accidents in the garment factories of the area will also be probed, he told the journalists during a visit to the fire-devastated factory at Nischintapur in Ashulia.
The RMG factory, Tazreen Fashion, caught fire on Saturday evening that left some 124 workers dead and over 200 others injured. read more.

* Factory Fire: Dr Kamal for probe commission:

Terming the loss of lives in Savar RMG factory inferno a loss of 16 crore people, eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain on Monday demanded an effective probe body with credible persons to unearth the real mystery behind the deadly fire.

“We need to carry out an intensive probe by credible persons to debunk as to why people could not come out of the factory after the fire raged through it,” he told a press conference.

Dr Kamal came up with the demand at a press conference arranged by Gano Forum at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity on the terrible fire in Savar RMG factory, flyover collapse in Chittagong and the country’s latest political situation.

The veteran politician regretted that though the government forms enquiry committees after any terrible incident, their findings usually do not see the light. “Now time has come to constitute a probe commission to look into the activities of the committees.” read more.

* BGMEA forms probe committee:

BGMEA president Shafiul Islam could not give satisfactory answers to many questions raised by the journalist on Monday’s press conference where he claimed the fire incident might be an act of sabotage.

The journalists asked why the factory failed to put-off the fire with their extinguishers, why emergency exits were closed and why the floor managers misguided the workers insisting that there was no any fire broke.
The BGMEA president, instead argued, the death toll in Ashulia factory was very high because the panicked workers could not come out of the building due to thick black smoke at the ground floor of the factory.
On the other hand, the fire extinguisher in the factory did not work or probably none dared or did not get time to operate them during the emergency, Islam pointed out.
read more.

* Bangladesh blaze factory had 6 illegal storeys: govt:

The builders of the nine-storey factory in which 110 workers died in Bangladesh’s worst textile industry fire had only been granted permission for a three-floor construction, an official said Monday.

“We gave them permission to build a three-storey factory. But they expanded the building without any approval from us,” Habibul Islam, the government’s chief inspector of factories, told AFP.

Islam’s comments came as the government and police launched separate probes into the fire on Saturday at Tazreen Fashion that left at least 110 workers dead as many struggled to escape from upper floors.
Survivors told AFP that the factory, built outside Dhaka in 2009, did not have proper fire exits. read more.

* Western brands accused in Ashulia garment fire:

Western garment firms have been accused of hiding behind flimsy safety audits after the latest lethal garment factory fire in South Asia, where poorly paid workers often toil in dangerous conditions. The night shift at the Tazreen Fashion plant outside the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka was hard at work when the blaze erupted late Saturday, killing 110 employees with many trapped inside unable to escape the flames and smoke.

The fire came after 289 people died in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi in September, in a similar blaze that again highlighted the export garment sector’s dismal safety record.

“Many factory owners either deceive or buy their way to so-called safety compliance which is designed to satisfy overseas buyers keen to get garments at low prices,” said Phil Robertson, Asia deputy director of Human Rights Watch.
“This is another glaring indictment of the failure of the so-called private sector corporate social responsibility model,” he told AFP as Bangladesh held a mass burial on Monday for victims burnt beyond identification.

Tuba Group, which owns the Tazreen plant, said on its website that its factories make clothes for well-known global retail giants including Walmart, Carrefour, IKEA and C&A.
Tuba, which employs nearly 7,000 people, also says it has a certificate of compliance from WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production), which promotes safe and ethical manufacturing.

The US-based WRAP, which is often criticised for being industry-funded, denied on Monday that it had certified the Tazreen factory.
State-run safety checks in South Asia are also poor, with Robertson describing them as “a world-class joke” and saying Western chains using the independently owned factories must take direct responsibility for workers.
(…)
The programme supports professional building inspections, training and a regular review of safety issues, but trade unions said it has had limited overall impact on the sector.
“The deal has not made much headway due to non-participation by major brands like Walmart, Gap and Carrefour,” Amirul Haque Amin, head of the National Garment Workers Federation, said.

“The problem is when it comes to workers’ safety, Western retailers mostly offer lip service.”
(…)
“We have become a huge garment exporter in the last decade, but it has come at the expense of workers’ lives,” Babul Akter, the head of Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation, said. read more.

* Bangladesh workers protest ‘deathtraps’:

Garment workers staged mass protests Monday to demand the end to “deathtrap” labor conditions after Bangladesh’s worst-ever textile factory fire, as a new blaze sparked fresh panic and terror.

Ahead of the first of a series of mass funerals for the 110 victims, survivors of Saturday night’s blaze joined several thousand colleagues to block a highway and march in the manufacturing hub of Ashulia.

“Workers from several factories have left work and joined the protest. They want exemplary punishment for Tazreen’s owners,” said Dhaka police chief Habibur Rahman, referring to a plant near the capital where the blaze broke out late Saturday.

Police said Ashulia’s more than 500 factories which make apparel for top global retailers such as Wal-mart, H&M and Tesco declared a wild-cat “holiday,” fearing that the protests could worsen and turn into large-scale unrest. read more.

* Dhaka workers demand action after factory fire:

Thousands of angry textile workers demonstrated on the outskirts of Dhaka after a fire swept through a garment workshop at the weekend, killing more than 100 people in Bangladesh’s worst-ever factory blaze.

The fire has put the spotlight on global retailers that source clothes from Bangladesh, where the cost of labour is as little as $37 (£23.70) a month for some workers – and rights groups have called on the big brands to sign up to a fire safety programme.

A second fire broke out at a separate clothes factory on the outskirts of the city today. Eight workers were reported to have been injured by heavy smoke inhalation.

Workers from Tazreen Fashions, the site of Saturday’s blaze, blocked roads and forced the closure of other factories in the industrial suburb of Ashulia, where the huge fire started, demanding that those responsible be punished. “I haven’t been able to find my mother,” said one worker, who gave her name as Shahida. “I demand justice, I demand that the owner be arrested. read more.

* Dangers facing RMG workers:

More than 100 people diedSaturday and Sunday in a fire at a garment factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh,in one of the worst industrial tragedies in that country.

Officials said there were notenough exits in the building.
It took firefighters all night toput out the blaze at the factory, Tazreen Fashions, after it started about 7p.m. on Saturday, a retired fire official said by telephone from Dhaka, thecapital. At least 111 people were killed, and scores of workers were taken tohospitals for treatment of burns and smoke inhalation.

“The main difficulty was toput out the fire; the sufficient approach road was not there,” said theretired official, Salim Nawaj Bhuiyan, who now runs a fire safety company inDhaka. “The fire service had to take great trouble to approach thefactory.” read more.

* Li & Fung pledges pay-outs for victims of Bangladesh fire:

Li & Fung has pledged more than HK$9,000 to each family of the victims of a fire at a Bangladeshi garment factory that killed at least 124 people.

The blaze is the latest industrial accident to raise concerns about the safety of workers who make clothing for companies such as Li & Fung, the world’s largest supplier of clothes and toys to retailers.

Li & Fung, whose clients include Wal-Mart Stores and Target, said the factory has made apparel for the company and is in contact with its owner. The Hong Kong-based company said it will conduct its own investigations into the cause of the fire. read more. & read more.
  

* Wal-Mart distances itself from Ashulia fire:

The garment factory in Bangladesh where a weekend fire killed at least 112 people had been making clothes for Wal-Mart without the giant US retailer’s knowledge, Wal-Mart said.

Wal-Mart said the Tazreen Fashions Ltd factory was no longer authorised to produce merchandise for Wal-Mart but that a supplier subcontracted work to it “in direct violation of our policies.”

“Today, we have terminated the relationship with that supplier,” America’s biggest retailer said in its statement Monday. “The fact that this occurred is extremely troubling to us, and we will continue to work across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh.”

The blaze on Saturday was one of the deadliest fires at a garment factory in Bangladesh and highlighted how its garment factories often ignore safety in the rush to supply major retailers in the US and Europe. More than 300 people have died over the past six years in garment factory fires in the South Asian country. read more.

* Bangladesh factory fire ‘troubles’ Walmart:

US retailer Walmart says it is troubled that a supplier subcontracted work without authorisation to a factory hit by a lethal fire in Bangladesh.

Walmart said it was cutting ties with the supplier.
The fire at the Tazreen Fashions plant outside the capital, Dhaka, killed more than 100 people last weekend.
The deaths triggered large protests in Dhaka, and many factories are shut ahead of a day of mourning on Tuesday. The cause of the fire is unclear.
Walmart did not name its supplier, which it said had subcontracted work “in direct violation of our policies”.
“The fact that this occurred is extremely troubling to us, and we will continue to work across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh,” the firm said in a statement. read more.

* Fatal fire sends negative signals to garment buyers:

The fire at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia will send a negative signal to international buyers, who are targeting Bangladesh as the next major source of garment items after China, exporters and analysts said yesterday.

The tragedy struck the nation’s most important sector as leading apparel buyers were shifting their focus to Bangladesh and other Asian countries, with labour wages rising in China .
Some of the leading buyers have already raised concern about the safety of workers who make the clothing items for them.
Even the owner of Tazreen Fashions Ltd, where the fire incident took place on Saturday night, is in fear that his foreign buyers may leave him.
read more.  & read more. & read more.
   

* RMG industry ‘under buyer scanner’:

The fire in the multi-storied Tazreen Fashions has dealt a big blow to the image of Bangladesh as the readymade garment industry is under scrutiny of global buyers, economist Debapriya Bhattacharya believes.

“The incident is not good for Bangladesh’s image,” he said at the launch of UNCTAD’s LDCs (Least Developed Countries) Report 2012 at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) office on Monday.  A devastating fire that swept through Tazreen Fashions in the Ashulia industrial belt near capital Dhaka on Saturday has left at least 110 people dead.
“We have to carefully watch if there is any downward change in the buying orders and attitude of consumers towards Bangladeshi products,” he added.
The CPD Distinguished Fellow said such incidents would happen again unless full-fledged trade union was not introduced in the factories.
“The readymade garment sector is passing through a transformation of high wages for better productivity to produce high-end products but such type of incidents will make things complicated.”

read more.

* Sean Combs’ ENYCE labels found in Bangladesh factory fire:

Labels and documentation of US and European brands found in burnt out remains

  • C&A, Li and Fung and Piazza Italia confirmed as buyers

  • US rapper and producer, Sean Combs, more commonly known as Puff Daddy or P Diddy, is called upon by campaigners to take action today after his ENYCE brand was linked a tragic fire which killed 120 Bangladeshi garment workers on Saturday. Labels from his ENYCE brand were found in the wreckage of the burnt out Tazreen Fashion garment factory by local activists.

“We are sure that Mr Combs will be as shocked as we are to find that his company is implicated in such an horrific tragedy” said Liz Parker of the Clean Clothes Campaign. “We urge him to use his influence to make sure clothing factories are safe places for people to work”.

 Other labels and documentation found in the factory relate to Walmart, C&A, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Piazza Italia , Kik, Teddy Smith, Ace, Dickies, Fashion Basics, Infinity Woman, Karl Rieker GMBH & Co., and True Desire (Sears). To date only C&A, Piazza Italia and Li & Fung, a Hong Kong based sourcing agent, have confirmed they were buying from the factory at the time of the fire.

The Clean Clothes Campaign and its partners is working to seek confirmation from each of these brands on the sourcing relationship they have with Tazreen Fashion and is urging each company to publicly state their involvement with Tazreen or their owners TUBA group.

The Clean Clothes Campaign is also calling on all buyers from Tazreen Fashions to immediately investigate the full facts of the case and to ensure that adequate compensation is paid to the victims and their families. It is particularly urgent to ensure those injured in the fire receive the immediate medical treatment they require.

To prevent further factory fires the Clean Clothes Campaign along with trade unions and labour rights organisations in Bangladesh and around the world have developed a safety programme of independent and transparent inspections, mandatory repairs of building deficiencies, a review of all existing laws and safety regulations, a commitment to pay prices that can cover the costs involved and the direct involvement of trade unions in worker training on health and safety. The Clean Clothes campaign is now renewing its demand for brands to sign up to this programme immediately.
read more.

* UTTARA GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:


Photo: Jibon Amir/ banglanews24.com

* Huge clothes gutted in RMG factory fire:

A large quantity of clothes was gutted by a fire that broke out at the storeroom of a readymade garment factory at Mollartek under Dakshinkhan Police Station in the city on Monday morning.

Major Mohammad Mahbub, director (Operation) of the Fire Service, said the fire erupted at about 10:05 am on the first floor of 12-storey building ‘Afsan Plaza’ that houses RMG unit Swan Garments.
On information, 15 firefighting units rushed to the spot and doused the fire at about 1:25 pm with the help of the locals, he said.

Mahbub said though the fire burned down clothes at the storeroom of the garment factory, they could tame the blaze before it spread through the other floors of the high rise.
There was no report casualty.
The fire might have originated from an electrical short circuit, said the fire service official. read more. & read more.
 

* 2nd RMG factory fire in 48 hours:

A fire broke out in an apparel factory at Dakhinkhan on Monday morning barely 48 hours after 111 garment workers were killed in a  terrible blaze in Ashulia on Saturday night.
The fire originated from the warehouse on the second floor of Swan Garment, housed in a 10-storey building at Mollartek, at about 10:00am but it was put out by fire fighters in about two hours. No casualties were reported.
Most of the workers went upstairs while some climbed up the roof of an adjacent building by breaking open windowpanes on the 3rd floor of the building. read more.

* Fire alarm leads to stampede, 50 workers injured:

At least 50 workers, mostly females, were injured after a fire alarm triggered a stampede in a multi-storey apparel factory at Hemayetpur in Savar Monday evening.
The critically injured were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital and National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation.

The fire service sources said the fire broke out on the ground floor of six-storey factory of Abani Knitwear Textile Mills of Babylon Group at Rishipara at about 6:30pm but it was put out quickly before the fire engine reached the spot.
A short circuit is suspected to have caused the fire.

As the workers started rushing out of the factory hearing the alarm, the management tried to calm them saying that the fire had already been doused by the extinguishers.
But, the panicked workers continued coming down through the emergency exits, causing a stampede which left around 50 workers injured.
Savar police went to the spot and brought the situation under control at about 7:30pm. The factory’s senior manager, Shah Alam, said some 2,000 people were working at the factory and they were about to leave as their duty hour was over.
to read. & read more.
 

* RMG units having no emergency exits will be shut, says minister:

Factories having no or only fire and emergency exit will be shut down, Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju has said, reports bdnews24.com.
The minister made the announcement at a meeting with the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).
Raju admitted that the huge casualty in the fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia was due to lack of proper exits.
“It cannot be accepted. Each factory must have more than one usable (emergency) exit,” said Raju.
He held the meeting a day after 110 were killed in the worst-ever factory fire at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia.
He said teams headed by Chief Inspector of Factories will be sent to inspect garment factories in various areas. read more.

*Factory fire the deadliest of many in Bangladesh:

The fire alarm: Waved off by managers. An exit door: Locked. The fire extinguishers: Not working and apparently “meant just to impress” inspectors and customers.

That is the picture survivors paint of the garment-factory fire Saturday that killed 112 people who were trapped inside or jumped to their deaths in desperation. For Bangladesh, where such factories commonly ignore safety as they rush to produce for retailers around the world, the tragedy was unusual only in scope: More than 200 people have died in garment-factory fires in the country since 2006.

About 15,000 Bangladeshi workers protested blocks from the gutted fire Monday, demanding justice for the victims and improved safety. Some 200 factories were closed for the day after the protest erupted in Savar, a suburb of Dhaka, the capital.
read more.

* Why fires in South Asia kill more than blazes elsewhere:

If you were to invent a death trap, you’d use: unethical owners, crowded slums, corrupt inspectors and untrained firefighters

Blazes like the one in Dhaka on Saturday, which killed more than 100 in a garment factory, are sadly all too frequent occurrences around south Asia.

In September, in one of the worst incidents of its kind, 289 died in Karachi, Pakistan. The same month, 40 were killed in a blaze at a fireworks factory in the state of Tamil Nadu in south India.
Several factors combine to make death traps of factories across south Asia. Often exits are padlocked, basements used as store rooms for highly flammable raw materials and fire escapes missing. Smoke alarms and sprinkler systems are rarely heard of.

Survivors often describe the desperate crush as hundreds rush into narrow corridors filled with clouds of toxic smoke.
Fire is a constant hazard in the grossly overcrowded poor neighbourhoods of emerging world cities. read more.

* In shame:

Reports on private television channels were still showing the video clips of a factory building burning. The electronic media was still covering the event with one reporter being stationed there and giving a brief account of the incident every time the studio loops him or her in. At our end, as manufacturers, we crib and complain for being covered in such frequency; as human beings, we burn in shame.

Starting from the Mirpur tragedy in 1990, to 53 deaths in Choudhury Knitwear in 2000, to 24 deaths at Maico Sweaters in 2001, the nine in Nisco Supermarket building, the 23 at Shan Knitting, and of course the 64 in an incident of building collapse of Spectrum in 2005, the records wreak tragedy.

Tazreen Fashion Ltd, a unit of Tuba Group at Nischintapur in Savar, is reported to be exporting knit items worth $35 million. A factory, which was set up only three years ago, with a sprawling 49,000 square feet equipped with twelve production lines, 1,200 workers, a machinery strength of 650 sets, produces knitted polo shirts, fancy fleece jackets and basic t-shirts. read more.

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* Death-trapped in a burning cage – the Ashulia inferno:

…cheap clothing to the West has its price….

Another fire in a Bangladeshi garment factory, over 120 lives lost and more than a hundred injured – the only difference this time from the hundreds of other factory fires in the past 30 years is the scale of the deaths and human suffering.

It is this that makes it ‘worthy’ of comment, for a brief moment, in the international media. But fire is an occupational hazard for both bosses and workers in this industry(1). For employers – and their foreign buyers whose brand names are on the labels – it is merely part of a cost and profitability equation and an element of Corporate Image management. This particular death-trap factory was operated by Tazreen Fashion Ltd in the Dhaka industrial suburb of Ashulia and supplied, among other major brands, C & A in the UK and Walmart in the US.

That factory fires have for decades been such a common occurrence in the ready made garment (RMG) industry means that fire risk is, in effect, factored in as an influence on decisions on how production is organised.
With fast turnaround times demanded by buyers for foreign orders in the highly competitive global fashion retail markets, time is always tight and any production stoppages edge businesses ever-closer to invoking contractual financial penalty clauses for late delivery.
Inevitably, corners are cut and workers’ health & safety is a low priority(2). (Employers claim that fires have been reduced in recent years. But it may only be that – as production models develop and their scale increases – that though there may be less fires, bigger factories will mean their death count becomes larger when fires do occur.) read more.

* Death of workers in Ashulia fire is ‘mass murder’: Intellectuals, activists:

Intellectuals, artists, and cultural and political activists on Tuesday claimed the death of 111 garment workers in the fire incident at Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory was a ‘mass murder’ caused by negligence and violation of compliances by the owner.

Addressing a rally in front of the National Museum, they demanded immediate arrest of the owner.
 The speakers at the rally accused the government of deflecting the issue of labour exploitation, and lack of compliances and safety measures through propagating a conspiracy theory of the massive fire and the loss of lives.
They also raised questions on the ‘silent’ role of the parliamentarians of all parties, given the reality that no action has ever been taken against any of the owners who are responsible for many similar ‘mass murders in fire’, occurring frequently in the factories. read more. & read more.
 

* 52 unnamed fire victims laid to rest:

Fifty two unidentified bodies of Ashulia garment factory fire were buried at Jurain graveyard in the capital on Tuesday.

Anjuman Mufidul Islam, a social and charitable organisation, arranged the burial.
The bodies were buried after a namaz-e-janaza was held around 2:30pm at the graveyard, which has now turned into a human sea.

Earlier, on Monday, a team of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) along with forensic doctors of the hospital collected samples from 57 unidentified bodies to find out their identities through DNA tests.
Meanwhile, two bodies have been handed over to their relatives who confirmed identifying the victims by ornaments and body shapes.
On Saturday, at least 111 people were killed and 100 injured in a devastating fire at Tazreen Fashion Ltd at Nischintapur on the capital’s suburb Ashulia.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
        

* Demo in front of Tazreen Fashion:

The angry relatives and families members of the fire victims and workers staged demonstration in front of blazed Tazreen Fashion Limited on Monday.

They brought out a procession when police prevented them from entering the factory for searching their kith and kin.
Police said none but members of probe committee and journalists are allowed to enter the factory. read more.

* Ensure workers safety, PM tells businessmen:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday urged the businessmen to ensure the safety of workers while setting up industries and factories.

“When you set up buildings, do not block any waterbody,” the PM said adding “The fire that raged though the Ashulia garment factory Saturday evening could not be doused immediately due to absence of any water source near the factory.”
She was inaugurating the fifth textile fair ‘Texbangla 2012′ at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital.

Bangladesh Textile Mills Association organised the three-day fair.A number of committees have been formed to investigate the Ashulia garment fire incident that killed 111 workers and the committees were asked to submit their reports immediately, the prime minister said.

“Action will be taken on the basis of those reports,” she said.
read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
          

* Units without 2 exits to be shut:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in parliament yesterday that the Ashulia garment factory fire was “pre-planned” and urged the people, garment owners and workers to remain alert to foil any subversive activities in future.

Meanwhile, Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju said the government would shut down garment factories which had no or only one fire and emergency exit.
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* ILRF for independent, transparent probe:

International Labour Rights Forum (ILRF), based in Washington, has called for an independent and transparent investigation into the causes of fire in a garment factory at Ashulia Sunday.

It also called on brands to join fire safety programmes following the deadly fire in the factory supplying US and European brands from Bangladesh. read more.

* Statement: National Garments Workers Federation, Bangladesh:

Factory owners, Government, Buyers and BGMEA should take effective step so that in future not a single garment worker has to die in factory-fire. We do not want to see such incident, which workers return to their home as dead body after they came to work. So, the garment factories should be developed as ‘safe workplace’. Factory owners, Government, Buyers and trade union organizations should work together for this. NGWF leaders this today.

They said this while addressing a garment workers gathering—before black & red flag mourning & protest procession—organized by National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) to protest the killing of 125 workers in Tazreen Garment factory-fire at Ashulia & to pay tributes to the deceased workers and demanding greater compensation (as per definition of loss of earnings) to deceased workers families, necessary medical treatment to injured workers and developing garment industry into safe workplace.
The program was held at 12:00noons in front of National Press Club in Dhaka city. More than 1,000 garment workers took part in the program.  read more.

* Deaths of RMG workers in factory fire condoled:

Ministers, foreign diplomats, business chambers, human rights organisations, trade bodies, political parties and civil society members have expressed their concern at the tragic fire incident in a readymade garments factory at Ashulia that claimed lives of scores of RMG workers on Saturday morning.

In separate messages Monday, they condoled the deaths of RMG workers and conveyed sympathy to the bereaved family members. read more.

* BGMEA blames wrong planning for RMG fire, moots separate estate:

The BGMEA leaders Monday urged the government to set up an organised industrial estate with a view to bringing down the incidents of fire in garment (RMG) factories.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin at a press conference on the recent fire said unplanned industrialisation was mostly responsible for the occurrences of fire in the industry.
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* Dhaka to learn lesson from Ashulia fire to ensure grow of RMG: US envoy:

US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena advised Bangladesh to learn important lessons from the Saturday’s fatal fire in a garment factory in Ashulia to ensure the growth of the country’s apparel sector.

“I think there are important lessons to be learnt from the incident, and I am hopeful that these lessons would be learnt to ensure continuous grow this industry,” he told reporters after a closed-door meeting with leaders of Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF) in the city on Tuesday.
Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) arranged the meeting at its conference room. BEF president Fazlul Haque chaired the meeting.
Leaders of the MCCI, BEF and leading businessmen attended the meeting that lasted around two hours. At the beginning of the meeting, one minute silence was observed in honour of the fire  victims.
(…)
US Ambassador Dan Mozena, who did not want to see the journalists inside the meeting, talked briefly to the reporters after the meeting. He said: “I think there are important lessons to learn from the (recent) incident (of Tazreen Fashion fire in Ashulia).”
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(Note: Mozena, ‘wise guy’ -with, almost always, his beautiful ‘public relations’ words-, could realize that a major responsibility lies with his ‘friends’: usa- garment firms.…..
Dan, hopefully, you’ve learned something….. and now you support the introduction of truly free trade unions!
editor j.)

* EU ready to help Bangladesh raise safety in apparel sector:

The EU Heads of Mission in Dhaka on Tuesday said the European Union had always been very clear about the need to improve working standards and safety in the apparel sector of Bangladesh.
The EU Heads of Mission in a statement said they recognised the importance of readymade garments to Bangladesh and appreciated that the European market was the largest export destination for the country’s apparel and textile products.
read more.

* Ashulia fire offenders to be brought to book: MKA:

Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir on Tuesday said those responsible for Ashulia garment fire incident will be brought to book.

All the previous major accidents in the garment factories of the area will also be probed, the home minister told reporters during a visit to the fire-devastated factory at Nischintapur in Ashulia.
The fire killed 111 at Tazreen Fashion Ltd as Saturday evening.
During his visit around 10:30am, the home minister went round different sections of the eight-storied factory building.

Talking to the press, MK Alamgir said stern action will be taken against those responsible for the incident.
The government will take all-out measures including giving compensation to the families of the deceased, he added.
The home minister also talked to the owners of some garments in the locality.
read more. & read more.

* Debunia garment fire for Tk 20,000:

A worker of Debunia garment in Ashulia admitted to setting fire to the factory taking Tk 20,000 from an official of the factory.
Sumi Begum confessed before the Senior Judicial Magistrate court of Wasim Sheikh.

Earlier, two accused—Sumi Begum and Jakir Hosaain–were produced before the court which later placed Jakir Hossain on four-day remand.
Sumi Begum confessed that she had set the fire after getting Tk 20,000 from official Jakir Hossain. read more.

* B Chy warns govt over Ashulia garment fire:

Former president AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury on Tuesday warned that they would try persons in the government who are responsible for the Ashulia garment fire.

“It is the concerned minister (labour minister) whose negligence has led to the inferno causing loss of over 100 lives,” Badruddoza, also the chief of Bikolpodhara Bangladesh, said this while speaking at a discussion at Dhaka Reporters Unity auditorium.
The BDB organised the discussion titled ‘Prof B Chowdhury’ and Dr Kamal Hossain’s Call For National Unity Against Corruption and Crime – Thoughts of Non-Resident Bangladeshis’.

Badruddoza asked, “Why did the respected minister and his ministry ignore that the gutted factory did not have any fire extinguishing system? Why did they fail to notice that the factory did not have enough passages and staircases for the workers to exit in case of such incidents? And why did the workers not have any group insurance?”
read more.

* 3 Tazreen officials held over fire link:

Detective Branch of police arrested three officials of Tazreen Fashions Ltd late on Tuesday for their alleged involvement with the fire that raged through the factory three day’s ago, leaving 111 workers dead.

On information, a team of DB police conducted drives in Rampura and Badda areas of the capital and arrested the trio, Gazi Rabiul Islam, assistant commissioner (Public Relation) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told The Daily Star on Wednesday.
The arrestees are an administrative officer, a store in-charge and a supervisor of the factory, the DMP official said. read more. & read more. & read more.
    

* Marginal impact of Bangladesh factory fire on Li & Fung:

In response to queries received from analysts, Li & Fung Limited wishes to clarify that the value of orders placed with Tazreen Fashions Limited in Bangladesh where a tragic fire has occurred will not have any material impact on the financial performance of Li & Fung.

The total value of orders placed for the year with Tazreen on behalf of Kids Headquarters, a division of LF USA amounted to approximately US$111,000. Li & Fung also confirms that the Company has not placed orders for other customers with Tazreen. read more.

* Walmart blames its supplier:

US global retailer Walmart yesterday said Tazreen Fashions, the garment factory where a fire killed at least 111 people, had been making clothes for the retailer without its knowledge.

But the website of Tuba Group, a major Bangladeshi garment exporter that owns Tazreen Fashions, shows Walmart on the list of its top 29 buyers.

The Daily Star called the group’s Managing Director Delwar Hossain on his mobile phone twice yesterday. His assistant answered the phone both times and only said Delwar was at a meeting.
In a statement released on Monday, the US retail giant said Tazreen was no longer authorised to produce merchandise for Walmart. “Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this tragedy.”

“A supplier subcontracted work to this factory without authorisation and in direct violation of our policies. Today, we have terminated the relationship with that supplier,” America’s biggest retailer said.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
       

* BKMEA asks factory owners to abide by labour law, environ act:

BKMEA — the country’s apex body for knit products — called upon the apparel factory owners to follow labour law, environ Act and compliance for the sustainable growth of the sector.

It also directed all the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) members for re-examining electric distribution board, switch board and circuit, fire extinguisher, smoke and heat detector in their factories.
read more.

* Global media highlights RMG factory fire:

Global media highlighted the devastating fire incident of Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia, on the outskirts of Dhaka, taking note of the fact that Bangladesh’s garments industry has poor fire safeguards without any precautionary measures against any accident or fire.

Reports of the New York Times, The Guardian, The Financial Times, BBC, Al Jazeera, Reuters and PTI also said that though Bangladesh manufactures garments items for global brands like Tesco, Wal-Mart, JC Penny, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Kohl’s and Carrefour, many factories operate with minimal safety measures.
(…)
It also said since 2006, more than 500 Bangladeshi workers have died in factory fires, according to Clean Clothes Campaign, an anti-sweatshop advocacy group in Amsterdam.

Experts say many of the fires could have easily been avoided if the factories had taken the right precautions. Many factories are in cramped neighborhoods and have too few fire escapes, and they widely flout safety measures. The industry employs more than three million workers in Bangladesh, most of them women, added the report. read more.

* A Girl Named ‘Lovely’ Demands Change After Factory Fire Kills 112:

As labor activists push for a major safety overhaul after a garment factory fire that left more than 100 workers dead, the teen survivor of an earlier blaze has launched an on-line petition calling on three major U.S. clothing companies that buy clothes from Bangladesh, including Wal-Mart, to commit to fire safety in their overseas factories.

A girl who calls herself “Lovely” says she was 11 years old in 2006 when a fire swept through the clothing factory where she worked. Lovely and 150 other workers were injured, and more than 60 people died. She said the building where she worked was a “death trap” – and that six years later, conditions at Bangladesh factories haven’t changed.

“Every day I wonder,” asked Lovely, “Is this the day when there will be another fire and more people will die?”

On Change.org, Lovely, who didn’t give her last name, started a petition calling on Wal-Mart, Gap, and H&M, the top three buyers of garments from Bangladesh, to pledge support for “a real fire safety program that will save the lives of the companies’ sweatshop workers.” read more.

* Trade union is the solution, Debapriya says:

Economist Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya (of Bangladesh) yesterday said trade union should be allowed in the readymade garment factories (of Bangladesh) to protect the workers’ interests. “Neither the government nor the factory owners see the interests of the workers,” Bhattacharya told reporters at the Centre for Policy Dialogue’s (CPD) office in Dhaka.

His comments came after the devastating fire that killed more than 100 workers in a garment factory at Ashulia near Dhaka on Saturday night.
“Trade unions should be allowed since other institutions seem to have failed to protect the workers’ safety and interests,” the economist said.
“Otherwise, this type of incidents will occur again and again,” he said.

Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of the CPD, also said the latest fire incident will damage the country’s image and the apparel industry, which is on a path of improving its productivity further.
“Retailers and consumers will be confused to buy Bangladeshi apparels,” he said.

The economist said it is a big blow at a time when labour and human rights issues in Bangladesh continue to be a source of serious concern for the outside world. Bhattacharya also criticised the government for ignoring real issues of the economy.
read more.

* Fire highlights harsh lives of workers:

Clothing is king in Bangladesh, a country that exports more garments than any other in the world except China. It is responsible for four out of every five export dollars and has turned factory owners into members of parliament and leaders of sports clubs.

That strength has often been turned against the workers in those factories, especially those who complain about poor working conditions and pay that can be less than $40 a month. A law-enforcement agency called the Industrial Police is specifically assigned to deal with unrest in factories, and labour activists accuse government forces of killing one of their leaders. Employees are barred by law from forming trade unions, even though Bangladesh allows workers in other industries to unionise.

Workers hope that could change following the industry’s latest tragedy, a fire Saturday that killed more than 100 people at a factory that made T-shirts and polo shirts for Wal-Mart and other retailers around the world. But they have their doubts.
read more.

* Over 500 RMG workers die in factory fires in 22 years:

At least 500 workers have been killed in factory fire in the readymade garments sector in last 22 years, according to Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies.
The BILS statistics showed that from 1990 to 2012, 431 workers had died in 14 major fire incidents in several RMG factories.

A BILS official said the statistics were based only on major fire incidents and might not be the accurate number of deaths in RMG factory fires.
Besides this, there are a number of incidents where one to six workers had died, which were not integrated in the statistics, he said.
The BILS official also said they prepared the report according to the statistics of the government and Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The number of deaths in factory fires varied between the statistics of BILS and BGMEA.
BILS statistics showed that 431 workers had died in only 14 major fire incidents in last 22 years while BGMEA showed that a total of 388 workers were killed in factory fires in the sector during the period. read more.

* Ashulia workers stage rowdy protest:

Garment workers were staging a rowdy protest in Ashulia on Wednesday demanding safety of workers at workplace, three days after the fire tragedy that had claimed the lives of 111 workers.

The marauding workers also vandalised a number of factories there and picked up a clash with police.
Transport movement on Ashulia-Baipail road remains suspended since 9:40am following the vandalism and the clash, said Moktar Hossain, deputy directory of Industrial Police in Ashulia.

Authorities of at least 25 garment factories suspended production for today (Wednesday) fearing further vandalism, Moktar said.
Police said the clash ensued when around 20,000 workers of a garment factory of Ha-Meem Group came out of their factory around 9:30am following an electric short circuit. read more.

* Citizens demand justice for deaths in Ashulia fire:


Jatiya Garments Sramik Federation brings out a procession from the capital’s Jatiya Press Club yesterday, mourning the deaths of 111 garment workers in Saturday’s fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia. Photo: STAR

Outraged citizens in a protest programme yesterday demanded justice for the unwarranted deaths of garment workers of Tazreen Fashion, who died in a devastating fire at the factory on November 24.

Citing the incident as murder, speakers addressed the inhumane and unsafe work conditions of the workers at the factory.
They demanded factory owners to be held accountable for defying labour laws and minimum safety standards, and also the state for failing to ensure and implement existing laws.
Government is trying to shirk their responsibilities by giving conspiracy theories, they added.
The programme was organised in front of the National Museum in the capital.
read more.

* RMG workers damage vehicles, block Dhaka-Mymensingh highway for arrears:

Several hundred workers of a garments factory at Sadar upazila took to the street and blocked Dhaka-Mymensingh highway for one hour on Tuesday night demanding their arrear salary.

The agitating workers told journalists that the management of `Asla Sweater` a ready-made garments (RMG) unit situated at Chhaidana at Sharifpur, has not been paying their salary and other dues for more than two months.
Police and witnesses said, the slogan chanting workers came out of the factory and hurled stones at passing vehicles damaging a dozen different types of vehicles at 8pm.
At one stage they blocked the highway by placing barricades on it creating huge traffic jam on both sides.
However, the road blockade was withdrawn following police intervention at around 9pm. to read.

* Ashulia garment units announce daylong closure:

All garment factories in Ashulia industrial zone announced a sudden daylong closure on Wednesday morning after several thousand workers blockaded Dhaka-Tangail highway demanding safety at workplaces.

The workers took to the streets following a rumour of breaking out fire in a factory.
Ashulia Industrial Police’s Director Abdur Rouf said traffic on Dhaka-Tangail highway remains snapped from 10am in the wake of the protests.
He said demonstrators vandalised a factory of Azmat Group at Kathgora at Ashulia before setting two motorcycles parked in front of it afire. read more.

* Tazreen tragedy: At stake is the RMG sector:

Once again, the horrible happened — this time at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia on Saturday. More than hundred garments workers died in a fire. They came from poor background.

They came with dream. Poverty drives them out of home. Poverty drives them to work in an apparently unsafe working environment risking their lives to ensure the bare minimum for their family. In the end, life is the ultimate price that they paid for undertaking this risk. But until their death, they contributed more than they were paid.

In every opportunity we got, we used to glorify them as the backbone of the country’s economy. They were the brand ambassadors of Bangladesh to the rest of the world. And the brand was ‘hard working cheap labour’. Yet we failed to protect their lives from fire. The fire that did not come as a thunder out of the blue rather originated in the factory and spread fast as a result of unbounded greed of the owners of factory and the corrupt public servants who were jointly in charge of ensuring the existence of emergency fire exit in the building. That is why these deaths are unacceptable, people responsible for them are criminals, and should be tried. read more.

* It is high time; we fix our apparel sector:

I was watching the regular ‘morning music’ programme in a leading television channel Monday morning. Even the lady anchor was crying- remembering so many deaths at a garment factory last Saturday.
No — we don’t want recurrence of such tragic incident, we don’t want any more unwanted, untimely, uncared and ghastly deaths in our manufacturing plants. No civilised nation can afford to maintain its competitiveness on a sustainable basis in an irresponsible way.

We got to fix our apparel sector. Be it the issue of human resources or industrial relations or labour standards or minimum wage or productivity or skill development or safety and security of workers Bangladesh got to address all issues in its apparel sector in order to maintain its competitiveness in the global apparel ‘supply chain’.
read more.

* Employers moved with pity, call for urgent action to improve RMG situation:

The highly tragic fire incident in garment factory has created an urge among the employers as to how an utmost security for the workers can be ensured in the industries by improving working environment.
The buyers abroad are upset, as we are…. We are human beings. We feel the pain in our heart. We should be more cautious to avoid recurrence of any such incident,” said SM Mannan, vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA)
“We need to protect our business and lives simultaneously,” Mannan, who is also the managing director of Seha Design (BD) Ltd, told the New Nation adding that the BGMEA leaders were seriously discussing about how to improve the situation and restore confidence of all.” read more.

* An Other Fire- Fabrics gutted in RMG factory fire in Ashulia:

A large quantity of fabrics was gutted by a fire that broke out at the godown of a garment factory at Palashbari in Ashulia on Tuesday night.

Badrul Alam, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station, said the fire erupted at the godown of Shahriar Garments at about 7:20 pm.
 On information, four firefighting units from the Dhaka Export Processing Zone and Dhamrai rushed in and brought the blaze under control after half an hour.
The fire burned down fabrics at the tin-shed godown. However, no casualty was reported as there were no workers at the factory due to holiday on the occasion of national mourning day.
DEPZ senior station manager Anwar Hossain said the fire might have originated from an electrical short circuit.
 All garment factories across the country remained closed on Tuesday as the nation mourned the deaths of 111 workers killed in the inferno at Tazreen Fashions Limited in Ashulia on Saturday night. to read. & read more. & read more.
    
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* RMG workers go berserk in Ashulia, 20-50 hurt:

Production at most of the readymade garments factories in Ashulia zone was suspended for Wednesday as workers ran amok and clashed with police demanding justice and safety at workplace.

At least 20 people were injured during the clash that started around 9:30am, four days after a fire tragedy at the Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Nischintapur in Ashulia had claimed the lives of 111 workers.
The marauding workers also vandalised a number of factories including a unit of Azmat Group in Amtola and torched two motor cycles there.

Transport movement on the Dhaka-Tangail highway and Ashulia-Baipail road remain suspended following the vandalism and clash, said Moktar Hossain, deputy directory of Industrial Police in Ashulia.
Authorities of most of the garment factories suspended their production for today (Wednesday) fearing further vandalism, Moktar said.
read more & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
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* Fire survivors tell stories of utter neglect:

The officials of Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia, where more than 100 workers died in a fire on Saturday night, played music to suppress the sound of the fire alarm, a survivor alleged at a discussion yesterday.

Maria Akhtar, who miraculously survived the inferno, said the fire alarm rang at 6:50pm and the workers on the sixth floor ran to the staircases for exit.
But the production manager on duty asked them to go back to work, saying there was no danger. They later managed a makeshift bamboo bridge to escape to a nearby building with life risk, she said.

The discussion on how to stop deaths in fire at garment factories was organsied by the Prothom Alo at its office in the city.
Maria said Delwar Hossain, the owner, visited the factory 15 minutes before the raging fire started to engulf the eight-storey factory building. read more.

* My fault, but none alerted me:

” It was my fault,” said Delowar Hossain, managing director of Tazreen Fashion Ltd, yesterday.

“But nobody told me that there was no emergency exit which could be made accessible from outside. Nobody even advised me to install one like that, apart from the existing ones,” he argued in an exclusive interview with The Daily Star, for the first time since the deadly fire killed 111 workers at his factory on Saturday.

“I could have done it. But nobody ever suggested that I do it.”
While Delowar was apparently shaken by the tragedy, he did not announce any compensation for the families of the deceased, nor did he clearly express any sympathy for them, at least not in public.

Besides shouldering the entire responsibility for the incident, Delowar also blamed others for the tragedy — at least partly. He alleged that the officials of the labour department had visited his factory several times, but they had not raised any question about the exit routes.

It was the social compliance audit of the retail giant Walmart that complained only about the excess working hours at the factory. “But we have rectified the problem after receiving the complaint,” he claimed.

The retailer did not complain about the absence of any emergency exit from outside, Delowar said, adding that it did not even raise any objection over having a warehouse on the ground floor in the same building and near the staircase.
read more.

* Workers stage demo in Ashulia:

Garment workers of Ashulia yesterday blockaded the Dhaka-Tangail highway for six hours and vandalised vehicles and several factories following a short-circuit mishap in a factory.

The demonstrators also clashed with police when the law enforcers tried to calm the situation down.
Production of all the units in the area remained suspended yesterday owing to the agitation.
The outburst started around 9:30am when several thousand workers of Ha-Meem Group came out on street upon a rumour that one of the group’s units had caught fire. The rumour originated after sparks from an electric short circuit had been discovered on the 7th floor of the unit.
Seeing Ha-Meem workers on streets, workers of around 400 nearby garment factories joined the agitation. read more.

* Helpline for Tazreen victims:

The workers injured in a fire at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia may contact Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

BGMEA urged them to call its additional secretary, Md Zaglul Hayder, on 01817044677 or 8140310 (hunting) to get any help regarding their treatment.
BGMEA will bear all treatment costs for the injured workers, it said in a statement yesterday. The workers will be paid their outstanding salaries on December 1.
The workers and relatives of the victims were also urged to contact nearby garment factories where they will be given jobs on a priority basis. to read.

* BGMEA to disburse salaries of Tazreen Fashions’ workers Dec 1:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) will provide the salaries of the workers of the fire-hit Tazreen Fashions Ltd on December 1, officials said on Wednesday. 

The apex body of the apparel manufacturers also suggested the workers to look for jobs in the adjacent garment factories as they will get jobs on priority basis if they communicate.
 The decisions, including the rehabilitation plan, came from a meeting of the BGMEA held at its office.
Meanwhile, the BGMEA authorities asked the workers who suffered burn injuries at the factory inferno to communicate with the officials at the BGMEA to avail of the necessary treatment. The workers have been advised to contact M Jaglul Haider (01817044677) in this regard. to read.

* 3 Tazreen Fashions officials on 5-day remand:

A Dhaka court on Wednesday placed three officials of fire-ravaged Tazreen Fashions Ltd on a five-day remand each in connection with the inferno at the factory that killed at least 111 workers.  

Senior Chief Judicial Magistrate Wasim Sheikh passed the order after police produced them before his court seeking remand for the Tazreen Fashions officials.

Those remanded are administrative officer of the garment factory Dulal Uddin, store in-charge, Hamidul Islam Lavlu and security in-charge Al Amin.
Mostafa Kamal, a sub-inspector of Ashulia Police Station, produced the trio before the court with a seven-day remand prayer.

The court, however, granted a five-day remand for each after hearing.
Earlier, the Tazreen Fashions officials were arrested from different places in Dhaka and Savar on Tuesday night in connection with a case filed on charges of killing and injuring people. read more. & read more.

* Arrests made after Bangladesh factory blaze:

Three mid-level managers held for preventing workers from leaving factory premises after fire alarm went off.

Police in Bangladesh have arrested three managers of a factory where a fire killed at least 110 people.
The managers arrested overnight on Tuesday were accused of stopping workers from leaving the plant, saying an alarm was just a routine fire drill.
“All three are mid-level managers of Tazreen. Survivors told us that they did not allow the workers to escape the fire, saying that it was a routine fire drill. There are also allegations that they even padlocked doors,” Habibur Rahman, head of police in the capital Dhaka, told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.

Dulal Uddin, an administrative officer, Hamidul Islam, store room head, and Al Amin, a security officer in charge at the time of the Saturday evening blaze, apparently told workers of Tazreen Fashion that they had nothing to worry about when the fire started.
Survivors and witnesses told AFP that workers, most of them women, tried to escape the burning factory, which supplied clothes to international brands including Walmart, European chain C&A and the Hong Kong-based Li & Fung company.
(…)
Around 700 garment workers have been killed in dozens of fires since 2006,  according to the Clean Clothes Campaign, an Amsterdam-based textile rights group.
But none of the owners have been prosecuted over previous blazes.
Campaigners say Western firms whose clothes are made in Bangladesh hide behind inadequate safety audits in an effort to shave costs.
After European chain C&A and Hong Kong-based Li & Fung confirmed they had orders at Tazreen, the US retail giant Walmart also acknowledged some of its products were made there and said it had terminated ties with the supplier.
read more.

* BGMEA to form taskforce to oversee fire exit facility at factories:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is to constitute a four-member high-powered taskforce to oversee the fire exit system of Readymade Garments (RMG) manufacturing units in the country.

“The planned taskforce would be formed to reduce casualties due to fire incidents at garments factories,” M Siddique Rahman, 2nd Vice President of BGMEA, told BSS today.
Rahman said the taskforce would be formed taking in representatives from Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Fire service and Civil Defense and Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB).

Focusing on the salient features of the taskforce, he said members of the taskforce will take factory-to-factory visit to create awareness about the fire incidents among the factory owners.
About the government’s declaration to shut down factories having less than two fire exits, he said the association refrain from providing license to run factories without two fire exits.

The BGMEA leader, however, pointed out that some garment factories set up at the initial stage of the industry may not have fire fighting facilities
Referring to the non-BGMEA member factories, Rahman said their number would be around 500 and these non-compliant factories are detrimental to the industry.
read more. & read more. & read more.
   

* Bgmea seeks buyers’ coop- Help reduce safety risks:

The country’s apparel manufacturers on Wednesday sought an enhanced cooperation from global apparel brands and their retailers including the Wal-Mart to reduce the risk of fire incidents in the local garments industry.

The industry is passing through shocks and a growing fear of critical global reactions to the incidence may further cause destabilisation to the industry.
It is time for cooperation to come out of the shock overcoming the grief rather than finding faults and make the situation further uncertain, said leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) while giving their reaction to The New Nation yesterday.

The issue of safe working place comes to the forefront of the global buyers this week again following the devastating fire at Tazreen Fashion Ltd that used to execute orders from the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart.
BGMEA leaders said they are serious to work with global buyers to further strengthen the safety regimes to avoid future incidents.
The global apparel market can’t avoid Bangladesh at this stage because of it size and competitiveness so also Bangladesh earnestly seeks their cooperation to make the industry further safe, BGMEA president Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin) said.
read more.

* Hunt for cheap garments leads to workers’ plight:

German Ambassador Albrecht Conze yesterday blamed the sufferings of readymade garment workers partly on the international buyers’ tendency to get products at excessively cheap rates.

The German media covered the fire tragedy at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia extensively, he said. “Our first criticism in Germany is against ourselves.”

“First culprits are the German customers who want a pair of jeans for 5 euros, which is Tk 500. You cannot have a pair of jeans without someone suffering down the line, some workers in bad condition,” Conze said quoting the German media.
read more.

* Break-up with Walmart may send Tazreen to bankruptcy:

BGMEA president says the retailer’s decision to end ties with the garment maker is deceitful

The Walmart’s decision of cutting ties with Bangladeshi garment supplier Tazreen Fashions is ‘deceitful’, said BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin yesterday.

Such a unilateral decision might push the garment maker to bankruptcy, he said.
The US retail giant terminated its relationship with Tazreen after at least 111 workers were killed in a deadly fire in the garment maker’s factory in Ashulia on Saturday night, mainly due to lax safety measures.
“The Walmart met neither the BGMEA leaders nor the government high-ups, and took the decision unilaterally. It is a deceitful one,” Mohiuddin told The Daily Star by phone.
“But I hope the orders placed by Walmart with other factories in Bangladesh will not be affected for cutting the ties with the affected Tazreen Fashions,” he said.
read more. & read more.
 

* Wal-Mart, Disney clothes found in Ashulia fire:

The garment factory in Bangladesh where 112 people were killed in a fire had been making clothes for Wal-Mart, Disney, Sears and other major global retailers — some of whom say they thought they had stopped doing business with the place.

The apparent confusion underscored what some industry experts say is a major obstacle to improving factory safety in developing nations: Many retailers in the US and Europe rely on such a long and complex chain of manufacturers, vendors and middlemen to keep their shelves stocked that it is difficult to keep track of where certain products are made.

Amid the blackened tables and melted sewing machines at Tazreen Fashions Ltd, an Associated Press reporter discovered clothes and account books Wednesday that indicated the factory was used by a host of US and European retailers.

Among the items discovered: children’s shorts with Wal-Mart’s Faded Glory label, hooded sweaters marked “Disney Pixar,” shorts with hip-hop star Sean Combs’ ENYCE tag, and sweaters from the French company Teddy Smith and the Scottish company Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Sears was among the companies listed in the account books.

The tragedy is putting a spotlight on dangerous workplace conditions around the world, with no clear answers to how consumers should react or who is ultimately responsible. read more. & read more. & read more.
    

* Workers Burn, Walmart Ducks Responsibility:

Perhaps the images no longer have the power to shock. Charred bodies and wailing families appear in the news with grim frequency, giving the numbing impression that industrial fires are simply a necessary toll for poor nations on the road to “development.”

The latest factory inferno in South Asia should prompt us to ask why this keeps happening, but once again, challenges from local and international labor advocates are being dodged by the global apparel-manufacturing machine.

The fire this weekend at the Tazreen factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed more than 110 of the 1,000-plus workers, bears the stamp of some of the world’s most iconic fashion labels. According to labor advocates, the Western brands linked to the factory included Disney, Sears, Dickies, Sean Combs’s Enyce and Walmart’s Faded Glory.

According to initial reports, the workplace was fraught with fire-safety issues, including the lack of a viable road for rescue workers to approach the facility and a lack of safety exits. Before workers could flee, some managers reportedly “stopped them running to safety after the fire alarm had gone off.”

Just about everyone who could be held responsible has a story to deflect the blame, and some are even implicating workers. read more.

 

* The other fire- 50-60 hurt in stampede in Ctg RMG factory:

At least 50 garment workers were injured as they jostled to come out of their factory in panic of a fire at Chittagong Export Processing Zone area in the port city on Wednesday.

All the injured workers of Section-7 Limited of Shirt Makers Group were rushed to Chittagong Medical College Hospital for treatment, reports our Chittagong correspondent.
Md Mezbah Uddin, senior executive officer of the factory, said the workers hurriedly get out of the building after seeing smoke which was originated from an electric short circuit on the fourth floor of the five-storey building around 8:00am.
The workers of the floor managed to extinguish the fire immediately, the official of the factory said.
Nasima, 24, a worker of the factory, told The Daily Star that panic gripped the workers as they all are haunted by the memory of Ashulia fire where at least 111 people were killed on Saturday night.
 read more& read more. & read more.  & read more. & read more.
     

* Garment ‘jinx’ gets going:

At least 60 garment workers were injured in three factories in Dhaka and Chittagong from fall and stampede yesterday as they ran for their lives following rumours of fire, with the apparel sector still reeling from the horror of Saturday’s deadly fire in Ashulia.

In the port city, at least 50 workers of Section Seven Ltd were wounded when they tried to escape in panic on hearing that the factory caught a fire, officials and workers said.
The incident happened at around 8:00am following an electric short circuit on the third floor of the five-storey building.
Of the victims, most suffered injuries from fall. At least three of them had their hands broken while six others sustained head injuries.

All the victims were taken to Chittagong Medical College Hospital, said Zahirul Islam, sub-inspector of the CMCH police outpost.
Later in the day, 25 of them were discharged after initial treatment while the other 25 were admitted to the hospital.
“We all panicked because we are yet to forget the Ashulia tragedy,” said Nasima, a worker of Section Seven. read more.

* 5 workers injured in city RMG factory stampede:

Five workers were injured in a stampede sparked by a fire rumour at a garment factory in the city’s Elephant Road area on Wednesday.

The injured are Shahida, 35, Dolly, 40, Akbar Ali, 25, Rupa Akhtar, 22, and Shilpi Akhtar, 23.
Police said the workers of Starlight Garments scrambled to get down from the top two floors of the five-storey factory building through a narrow staircase in a panic after someone rang the fire alarm bell at about 3:30 pm, leaving the five injured.
The injured were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
to read.

* Criminal Negligence Leads to Tragedy at the Tazreen Fashion Factory:

A Senior Worker—An Eye Witness—Relates What Happened at the Tazreen Factory,  As Flames Engulfed the Workers, Many of Whom Were Purposefully Locked In.

“I was working on the fifth floor in the sewing section on the evening of Saturday, November 24th. Fifty percent of the workers left the factory at 5:00 p.m. and the remaining 50 percent had to stay for overtime. All overtime is obligatory.

“Just a few days earlier, the factory had received piles of cartons full of cloth, yarn and thread, and some sewing machines. It was 6:30 p.m. on Saturday when the fire started on the ground floor, and it quickly spread to the upper floors. About 1,800 workers were trapped.
Some men from the finishing section started to go downstairs to flee the factory. They were burned but escaped death.
Our production manager, Mr. Monju, pulled down the collapsible gate on the third floor, forcing us to continue working.
We pleaded with him to let us out, but Mr. Monju assured us that nothing was wrong and we should keep working. He told us not to listen to any rumors.  He said again, ‘Nothing has happened, just keep working.’ read more.

* Bangladesh to ensure friendly environment in RMG sector: Mozena:

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan W Mozena today urged Bangladesh government to create worker- friendly environment in all ready-made garment (RMG) factories.

“The devastating fire in Ashulia garments factory is really a very sad incident and I hope that the government of Bangladesh will ensure friendly environment in all labour industries”, the US envoy said to a group of journalists at Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport on way back to Dhaka after spending a day- long visit to Chittagong.
In reply to a question, Mozena said the issue of caretaker government is exclusively an internal matter of Bangladeshi politicians.

“I should not talk about it”, he added. Earlier, Mozena attended a programme on gender violence held on Patiya College premises. read more.

(……)

* The fallout from the Tazreen fire:

The fire at the Tazreen factory in Ashulia originated from a warehouse on the ground floor of the nine-storey building that was used to store yarn and it quickly spread to the upper floors.

The factory employed about 1,500 workers. It produced T-shirts, polo shirts and fleece jackets. Most of the workers who died were on the first and second floors and were killed because there were not enough exit routes. The workers could not come out when the fire engulfed the multi-storied building.

The prime minister said in parliament that the Ashulia garment factory fire was pre-planned and urged the people, garment owners and workers to remain alert to foil any subversive activities in future. She also said those behind the incident would be identified through investigation. Attacks were being made on the garment sector that had been earning foreign currency, said the prime minister. read more.

* Lax Safety Measures Blamed for Tazreen Factory Fire Tragedy:

The death toll of 111 in the fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh would have been significantly lower if safety measures were upheld by retail companies in the country, according to a leading labour rights NGO.

Garment factories in Bangladesh, the world’s biggest exporter of clothing after China, are often located in unsafe buildings that were originally constructed for residential or commercial purposes.

“The electrical wiring is set up for residential buildings, not for heavy industry with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of machines,” Liana Foxvog, of the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), told IBTimes UK.

“The majority of factory fires in Bangladesh are caused by electrical circuit shortage. The chaos that follows the fire is caused by the fact that workers don’t receive proper fire emergency plans, and exit doors and windows are usually blocked. They are not properly trained.”

The ILRF has set up a comprehensive fire safety programme to alleviate the decades-old deadly working conditions of workers at supplier factories in Bangladesh. read more.

+++++++++++++++++++++

20121130

* Labour rights group presses for binding safety agreement:

International labour rights group Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) yesterday called for international pressure on Bangladeshi garment makers to get them to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety (BFBS) agreement.

The purpose of the agreement is to prevent and correct the dangerous fire safety risks prevalent at many of the garment factories in Bangladesh.
The move comes in the wake of the 111 deaths due to inadequate fire safety precautions at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia.
CCC, based in Amsterdam, is an alliance of trade unions and nongovernmental organisations from 15 European countries, geared towards the improvement of working conditions in the garment industry. read more.

* Labor Rights Groups urge Us and European governments to press apparel brands and retailers to sign on to Bangla Desh fire and building Safety Agreement: 

Walmart Supplier Factory is Latest in a Series of Deadly Fires; Groups Promote Comprehensive Solution to Save Live

Labor and human rights groups in the US and Europe are calling on [1]  U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and European governments to press apparel brands and retailers to join the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement [2] , after a fire in Bangladesh claimed the lives of 112 workers at Tazreen Fashions.
The purpose of the Agreement, which has been signed by PVH, owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, and German retailer Tchibo, is to prevent and correct
the dangerous fire safety risks that have now resulted in more than 700 worker deaths over the past decade.

     The core components of the Agreement are as follows:
Inspections by trained fire safety experts operating independently of the brands and the factories being inspected;
Public reporting of the results of all inspections;
Mandatory repairs and renovations to address all identified hazards – and a      requirement that brands must cease doing business with any  supplier that refuses to make needed repairs and operate safely;
A central role for workers and unions, including worker-led safety committees in all factories and access to factories for unions to educate workers on how they can protect their rights and their safety, including their right to refuse unsafe work;
Contracts with suppliers that ensure sufficient financing and adequate pricing to cover the cost of eliminating deadly hazards and operating in a safe manner; and
*   A binding contract between the brands and worker representative that make these commitments enforceable – so the brands have to follow through, even if it means increased costs or longer turnaround times on orders.

As we have seen in the recent deadly fires in Bangladesh and Pakistan, corporate-controlled monitoring has failed to protect workers’ lives and unnecessary deaths will continue unless and until brands agree to an independent and binding fire and building safety program.

“The Agreement we are proposing involves a number of critical elements that distinguish it from the voluntary corporate social responsibility programs that have allowed these deadly fires to continue,”_ said Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium.

Tessel Pauli of the European Clean Clothes Campaign said _”Brands need to prevent anymore unnecessary factory worker deaths. Signing this Agreement and working with trade unions in Bangladesh is the first, essential step. ”

“Proper worker safety measures, such as those that will be required by the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement, could go a long way toward saving lives in the case of fire, or even preventing fires from occurring. Workers need to be central to the solution, not victims of bad management.”_ said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum.
to read & to read.
 

* Garment factory fire prompts calls for better safety norms:

The recent fire tragedy in a garment factory in Bangladesh, in which nearly 110 lives were lost, has once again raised heckles of activists who have raised the pitch for better safety standards in these units and calling upon global apparel brands to make sure compliance levels are met in these factories.

Bangladesh is the second biggest apparel producer in the world, behind China on the strength of being amongst the world’s low cost producers. Apparel workers here earn as little as 21 cents an hour, according to international labor rights organizations. Around 700 garment workers have lost their lives in fires while at work in the last five years, according to the anti-sweatshop – Clean Clothes Campaign in
Amsterdam.
(…)
According to Kalpona Akter, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Workers’ Solidarity (BCWS), who was at the accident site within 30 minutes of the fire happening, “Supervisors were slow to choose human safety over production quotas, which resulted in such a big death toll”.

India based – Anannya Bhattacharjee of the Asian Floor Wage Alliance said, “The continuing negligence demonstrated by multinational brands and retailers is irresponsible and criminal causing the killing of hundreds of workers in the region. Multinational companies continue to manufacture their products in factories that disregard national laws and hold workers’ lives in contempt”. read more.

* Ashulia returns to life:

Five days into the deadly fire at a garment factory, Ashulia has returned to life as workers of apparel factories rejoined work Thursday morning.

At least 111 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the devastating fire that raged through Tazreen Fashion Ltd at Nishchintapur in Ashulia on Saturday night.
The workers staged protest and resorted to vandalism in Ashulia following the fire incident that halted production at most of the garment units in the area since Sunday.

But, all the factories suspended their production on Wednesday fearing violent protests.
Thousands of workers returned to their workplace on Thursday morning and no untoward incident took place, a commercial officer of a garment factory told The Daily Star seeking anonymity.

Workers have been demanding punishment to owners of Tazreen Fashions Ltd and its officials holding them responsible for the fire and casualties.
They are also demanding safety at their workplaces. read more (+video).

* Workers demand arrest of Tazreen Fashions owner:

Production in RMG factories at Ashulia in Savar, on the outskirts of the city, resumed Thursday. Apparel makers declared suspension of production on Wednesday amid violent protests by workers demanding justice for the victims of country’s worst ever garment factory fire on Saturday last. The devastating fire that left Tazreen Fashions Ltd to ashes claimed the lives of 111 workers.

Meanwhile, Workers’ representatives in the garment industry Thursday demanded immediate arrest of owner of Tazreen Fashions Ltd to remove all kinds of confusions created among the apparel workers.

They also warned the authorities concerned of tougher movements that could severely affect the US$19 billion industry following mounting tension among the labour community due to tragic fire incident. read more.

* RMG fire safety largely ignored:

The government yesterday launched a nationwide drive to identify readymade garment factories with dismal safety system, five days into the nation’s deadliest industrial blaze in Ashulia.

Fifteen teams from fire service inspected 73 garment factories in Ashulia and found that one-third of the factories did not have sufficient fire safety measures and security for workers.
The issue of workers’ safety in factories has come up strongly following the devastating fire that killed at least 111 workers at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia on November 24.

It was found that the factory neither had any emergency exits nor adequate fire safety measures. And fire-fighting equipment on its different floors had not been used during the fire accident.
Moreover, the eight-storey factory had the permission to have only three floors.
The teams comprised of 70 officials would inspect as many factories as possible between November 29 and December 2, said M Abdus Salam, director of Fire Service and Civil Defence (administration and finance), who led the drive with the help of police.

He said they would submit a report to the home ministry on Monday with recommendations for taking punitive measures against factories with dismal safety system.
Salam said they might recommend cancellation of fire service licence of noncompliant factories. read more. & read more. & read more.
   

* MD unaware of safety:

The sheer ignorance of factory safety rules and awareness of fire hazard protection of garments industry’s management is simply unbelievable and surprising where fire incidents are frequent. I would like to propose the following suggestions to the BGMA in order to overcoming this drawback and to implement those.

All officials, including the board members and all top level managing and supervising officials of garments factories, must read, understand and memorise the Factories Act as well as Shops and Establishment Act. Further, they should be aware of factory accident prevention and safety rules and regulations. read more.

* JS body wants task force to monitor RMG factories:

A parliamentary standing committee on Thursday asked the government to appoint a tripartite task force headed by a minister or a state minister to monitor the apparel industrial sector in the wake of Saturday’s devastating fire at Tazreen Fashion Limited which claimed the lives of at least 111 workers.

Bangladesh’s worst-ever apparel factory fire prompted the committee on Labour and Employment Ministry to ask the government take the move.
‘The task force could comprise representatives from the government factory owners and the workers,’ labour secretary Mikail Shipar later told reporters after the meeting was over at Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban. read more. & read more. & read more.
 

* Formation of judicial probe body demanded:

Dhaka University Teachers’ Association on Thursday demanded constitution of judicial probe body to investigate into the fire incident of Tazreen Fashions garment factory of Ashulia .

Addressing a human chain at Aparajeya Bangla, they also demanded exemplary punishment of those involved in the incident.

They opined that there was no alternative but to ensure maximum safety to the employees of garment industries. The probe committee must perform their task fairly and transparently, they also emphasized.

DUTA acting president ABM Faroque said, ‘The garment employees across the country are being deprived of fundamental rights including those of security measures to protect them from accident.’ read more.

* 75- 100-130 workers injured in Savar fire stampedes:

Around 100 workers were injured in stampedes sparked by fire panic in two factories in Savar on the outskirts of the capital on Thursday.

Shimul Saha, an official of Enam Medical College and Hospital in Savar, told The Daily Star that 63 workers were undergoing treatment at the hospital. Of them, eight were in critical condition.
Fire Service and Civil Defence officials said around 2:45pm the officials of a shoe factory — Crescent Leather– at Hemayetpur informed them that a fire had originated in the ground floor of the three-storey factory building. The officials told them that the fire started from a short circuit from an electric motor.
Employees of the factory doused the flame before fire fighter units rushed to the spot.

Abdul Baten, industrial police deputy assistant director (Savar Zone), told The Daily Star they had information that around 15 to 16 people were injured in the fire incident.
In another incident, a tube light at Vision Apparels Ltd sparked on the first floor of the five-storey building around 2:30pm and created fire panic among the employees.
While rushing downstairs, around 80 people were injured in stampede.
read more.
& read more. & read more.
   

* Disney, Sears used factory in fire:

Amid the ash, broken glass and melted sewing machines at what is left of the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory, there are piles of blue, red and off-white children’s shorts bearing Wal-Mart’s Faded Glory brand. Shorts from hip-hop star Sean Combs’ ENYCE label lay on the floor, along with a hooded Mickey Mouse sweatshirt from Disney.

An Associated Press reporter searching the Bangladesh factory Wednesday found these and other clothes, including sweaters from the French company Teddy Smith and the Scottish company Edinburgh Woollen Mill, among the equipment charred in the fire that killed 112 workers on Saturday. He also found entries in account books indicating that the factory took orders to produce clothes for Disney, Sears and other Western brands.

Garments and documents left behind in the factory show it was used by a host of major American and European retailers, though at least one of them – Wal-Mart – had been aware of safety problems. Wal-Mart blames a supplier for using Tazreen Fashions without its knowledge. read more. & read more.
 

* BGMEA wakes up, but slowly:

Garment owners promise to bear expenses of fire victims’ families for 10 years

It took four days for the trade body of garment makers to take a mere decision to form a taskforce that will give the factory owners a deadline to upgrade their fire safety measures.

The BGMEA still does not know when the taskforce will be formed and when the factory owners will be given the deadline.
The BGMEA came up with a promise never heard of: If the owners do not meet the deadline, the taskforce will close their factories.
read more.
& read more. & read more.
   

* BD factory fire underscores retailers’ sourcing challenges, says Wall Street Journal:

The fire that killed 112 garment workers in Bangladesh last weekend underscores the challenges retailers face trying to track health and safety conditions at the far-flung, low-cost factories that make the clothes they sell, according to a report of Wall Street Journal (WSJ) of the USA.

The WSJ report noted: “Several of the companies – including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT +1.53% and Sears Holdings Corp. SHLD -3.41% – said supplier subcontractors had chosen the factory without their consent and that they did not discover their products, such as some of Wal-Mart’s in-house Faded Glory clothing brand, were made there until after the fire. read more.

* Time to bring peace and patience in garment sector:

The apparel sector of our country apparently has been passing through a crucial time. No one can change the present situation overnight and no one should have such an unrealistic expectation.

We must wait and have patience to improve the present condition. But it seems we are becoming impatient and expecting a rapid change. We do not hesitate to make violent protest; but such unruly behaviour will only prove harmful to our collective well-being. We must not forget that the garments sector is earning the largest amount of foreign exchange and has provided women with jobs for improving their lot.

The investors in the sector are facing a hard time due to the ongoing global economic recession and the recent scams have cornered our banking sector into a tight spot.
The worker of garments sector must not resort to violent method to press their demand. Through discussion and mutual agreement all problems can be sorted out gradually.
Recently we are witnessing a lot of upheavals in the garments sector and that has caught the attention of world media. This will surely create a negative impact on our garments export in the future. Rumana Sharmeen-Dhaka University.   to read.

(Note: SAFETY  FIRST, but please don’t forget: there’s another safety problem: WAGES ! -edit.j,)

* Tazreen Fashions to get Tk 18cr insurance:

Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia will get a fire-insurance of Tk 18 crore as a compensation for the devastating blaze that broke out on November 24 killing 112 workers of the readymade garment (RMG) industry.

The RMG had a one-year fire-insurance with Karnaphuli Insurance Company Limited in 2011.
The Tazreen Fashions is going to get the compensation as tenure of the year-long insurance would be effective till December in 2012, just before a month of the completion of the tenure. read more.

* Tk 2 core donates to PM relief fund for Ashulia, Bohadderhat victims:

Pubali Bank Limited today donated Taka two crore for the families affected by Ashulia garment fire and Bohaddarhat girder collapse in Chittagong, an official handout said. to read.

* Garment makers bash media:

Garment factory owners yesterday came down hard on the media for “exaggerating” the November 24 Ashulia fire incident and thus denting their good name.

Participating in an Extraordinary General Meeting of the BGMEA at its auditorium in the capital, the apparel makers vented their anger on the press for what they said was lopsided coverage of the Ashulia tragedy that claimed at least 111 lives and injured more than 100 others.

However, at the same meeting, leaders of the Leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association took the responsibility for the tragedy and said they were sorry for it. “We could not identify 53 people among those died…. We apologise to the nation for this,” said Faruque Hassan, vice-president of BGMEA.

Falcon Group Director Mahtabuddin Ahmed is one of those who launched a scathing attack on the media, saying the media was “inciting” the nation through spreading propaganda about Saturday’s blaze. read more.

* BGMEA flays media:

Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Thursday decided to set a timeframe for apparel factories to improve working condition and ensure workers’ safety.
The BGMEA at an extraordinary general meeting in the wake of Saturday’s deadly fire at Tazreen Fash
ions Limited which killed at least 111 workers also decided that the factories which would fail to improve the working condition and ensure compliance within the timeframe would be shut down.
(…)
They said the media was making ‘sweeping criticism’ of the industry which was ‘not fair’.
Falcon Group director Mahtab Uddin Ahmed named New Age editor Nurul Kabir and Dhaka University law professor Asif Nazrul and said that they engaged in ‘tall talk’ without having any knowledge of the apparel sector.
‘The way they talk generates amusement,’ Mahtab said. ‘We will give them 25 per cent of the ownership of this sector and let them run the sector if they can.’
read more.

* Ashulia: Time for change and putting people first:

Worker safety and Ashulia seem to be the most repeated words to fill the smoke-free boardrooms of overseas Bangladesh garment buyers this week. The world media also has a bulldog grip and it is unlikely to let go soon.

The devastating fire that swept through Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia last Saturday leaving 114 people dead is the loudest wake-up call this country has heard in its 41-years of existence.
Other than the factory owners, no one really cares about the loss of the building, machinery, garments and material, all are replaceable: life isn’t.

While on the surface 114 people – a deplorable number by any yardstick – have died in unimaginable excruciating pain in the worst-ever fire at a readymade garments factory in Bangladesh, countless more will suffer as a consequence.

Parents… grandparents…siblings…children, the list goes on.
Most people who work in the industry come from poor families and have dependents, in varying numbers, to support.
What will happen to them?
It’s fine for the factory owners to be compensated through their insurance policies, perhaps even make a profit, but what’s going to happen to the poor and downtrodden families who eagerly await the arrival of the (meagre) hard-earned wage packet to come through the mud hut door each month, that pays the rent, medical bills, grocery bills, their children’s school tuition fees and guarantees their sustenance for another month? read more.

+++++++++

20121202/03

* The last call:

Knowing that he would die, Polash Mian called his mother to say a final goodbye.

Moyna Begum choked with emotion yesterday as she tried to recollect what her son had told her for the last time. Polash came from Latibpur village that lost 11 of its residents to the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia on November 24.

“Ma, I am going to die. You will find me in a toilet,” Moyna quoted him as saying.
Polash would not let him go unidentified. He told his mother that he had tied a black shirt around his waist so that she could identify him even if his face changed beyond recognition.

After the fatal fire, Moyna said, she came to Dhaka along with other villagers whose sons and daughters had been working with the garment factory.
“I checked every toilet until I found him [Polash] on the third floor,” she said with tears rolling down her cheeks.

“He had that black shirt wrapped around his waist,” Moyna said before she lapsed into silence. read more.

* Tazreen workers protest in Ashulia:

Workers of fire-devastated Tazreen Fashion Ltd waged demonstration blocking the Dhaka-Tangail highway in Ashulia on Saturday after they were asked to go to Tongi of Gazipur to receive their salaries.

The workers however are not getting their salary today since Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) leaders have asked for a new list of workers to clear the arrears.
Earlier, the authorities asked the workers to collect their salary today (Saturday) from the factory at Nishchintapur in Ashulia where 111 people were killed in the devastating fire on November 24.

Meanwhile, the authorities of two factories in Ashulia — Dada Factory and News Trouser — suspended operation for today fearing vandalism.
The demonstration ensued around 8:00am when nearly 1,500 workers thronged the factory gate to receive their salaries as per a notice given by the garment authorities earlier.
When the workers reached the spot, Monowar Hossain, assistant commissioner of police (Ashulia and Savar zone) were making an announcement from a nearby mosque’s loudspeaker directing them to head for Tongi College premises.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
   

* PM allocates money for Ashulia-Ctg victims:

 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday allocated Tk 2 lakh for each of the families of the identified people killed in a garment factory fire in Ashulia and flyover collapse in Chittagong.

Each of those wounded in Saturday’s Ashulia fire will receive Tk 50,000, PM’s Special Assistant for media Mahbubul Haque Shakil told The Daily Star.
The prime minister on Friday approved the allocation from her special fund.
Earlier on Saturday, at least 111 people were killed and 100 injured in a devastating fire at Tazreen Fashion Ltd at Nischintapur on the capital’s suburb Ashulia.
On the other hand, 12 people were killed and 15 injured when three concrete girders of a flyover under construction at Bahaddarhat in Chittagong collapsed on a makeshift kitchen market on the same day. to read. & read more.
 

* BGMEA readies compensations for fire victims’ families:

In contact with buyers for more funds

Local apparel manufacturers have announced a raft of compensations for families of those who fell victim to a fire that killed over 100 lives at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Savar off the capital last week.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in a meeting Thursday decided to provide Tk 100,000 to each of the families of the ready-made garment workers, who were killed in the incident. read more.

* Salary day for Tazreen workers today:

The surviving workers of razed and now-closed Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Nischintapur in Ashulia demand their salary of four months and 13 days altogether.

As the factory authorities are set to pay the workers their November salary today, tension runs high in the area as they are adamant about their demand and said they would not accept if the authorities offer them only the month’s salary.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, over 20 workers of the factory expressed their suspicion over the factory’s resumption of operation anytime soon.

In Saturday’s deadly fire, the eight-storey factory building was badly damaged. A banner set at the factory by police, seen yesterday, reads: “This factory is highly risky. Everyone is requested not to enter the building.”
According to the government rule, a garment factory has to provide its workers with the salary of three months and 13 days if it is shut or dismisses any worker.

For the past few days, the issue of realising the salary of four months and 13 days has been in the air of Nishchintapur area where most workers of Tazreen Fashions live.
They were also in deep uncertainty of getting new jobs soon to continue their livelihood and feed their dependents.

Meanwhile, the survivors who sustained major injuries feared that they would not be able to join elsewhere immediately, and therefore, they needed the money to support their families until they recover.
Meanwhile, a small crowd of workers staged a demonstration at Nishchintapur Primary School yesterday morning when they announced that no worker would join Tazreen Fashions if the authorities offered its workers only a month’s salary.

Tazreen Fashions has 1,700 employees, of whom, 1,630 are workers, according to the website of Tuba Group, which owns the factory. read more.

* Survivors get no pay after long wait:

After hours of agonising wait, the survivors of Tazreen Fashions blaze that killed 111 people on November 24, returned empty-handed from the factory on Saturday as the management failed to pay them the wages they had expected.

Tazreen authorities as well as Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association had earlier assured them that their one month’s salary would be paid on Saturday.
But the workers refused to accept one month’s salary and demanded four months and 13 days’ wages, including one month’s due salary and that for three months and 13 days as per the labour law for closing the factory without notice.

Tazreen managing director Delwar Hossain said it was difficult for him at the moment to arrange the money for payment of wages for four months and 13 days to the workers. He also said that he would discuss the issue with the garment sector leaders to work out a solution. read more. & read more. & read more.
   

* ‘Tazreen workers to get wages by Dec 5- 6′ :

Labour and Employment Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju on Sunday said the workers of Tazreen Fashions Ltd would be given their wages by Dec 6.

He said the wages could not be paid as promised on Saturday as suspicion rose over authenticity of the list of the factory workers.
BGMEA and BKMEA will make a new list after examining the workers’ list, Raju told reporters at the Secretariat.
“The list will be prepared on (Monday) and finalised on Dec 4 after a meeting with the owners and others involved. Then the wages will be paid by Dec 6.”
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
   

* Chaos deepens over Tazreen tragedy:

Number of deaths, factory workers not yet clear: Payment of salary delayed

Even after one week of the Tazreen Fashion inferno nobody knows as to how many workers were working on the floors on that fateful night and what is the exact number of the deceased.
At least 113 garment workers died in the deadly fire of the factory that broke out last Saturday evening.
An official of the BGMEA’s ‘Crisis Management Cell,’ mainly dealing with labour related issues, said, it is the duty of the labour department.
“You better talk to the concerned ministry official who is looking after the matter,” he added.

To make the situation clear, the government yesterday formed a committee led by local Member of Parliament (MP) Towhid Murad Jong, sources said. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting presided by Labour Minister Raziuddin Ahmed Raju held at RAB headquarters, Uttara in the city.
Towhid Murad Jong, MP, high officials of the Labour Ministry, BGMEA, RAB DG, Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka and senior officials of law enforcement agencies were present at the meeting.
“Our prime task will be to find out the exact number of the factory workers,” Towhid Murad Jung, MP, told The New Nation yesterday.

He said, a draft list of the total number of workers would be prepared after discussion with the floor in-charges of the factory.
“The list will be placed to the factory owner and the workers and will be tallied with the attendance log books and other documents preserved in the computers to avoid confusion,” he added. read more.

* Fire takes toll beyond factory:

Armed police stand guard at the gate of Tazreen Fashions. A black banner hung on the wall reads: “Please do not enter. The building is highly risky.”

A few yards away a small crowd gathers at a grocery shop that Shafiqul Islam owns. Among them are some survivors of the November 24 fire. They speak of how they dodged their death by a nail’s breadth, their faces look still frozen.
When a survivor describes how the assistant production manager directed the guards to lock the collapsible gate and a top official played music on a loud speaker in high volume to deceive the workers about the fire, a tea stall boy becomes angry. More in disbelief than hatred.

“If the production manager were here now,” he says, adding that he wants to teach the officials a lesson. The boy does not understand how top managers can make decisions that kill. read more.

* Move to collect info about Ashulia fire victims:

Those having information about the fire incident at Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia have been asked to give those to a committee, formed to investigate the incident.   

Labour and Employment Ministry earlier formed the seven-member committee, headed by joint secretary Faizur Rahman, said a press release of the ministry.
The probe body began investigation and collecting information about those who were killed and injured.
Those who have necessary information have been requested to contact the committee office at Sramo Bhaban, (2nd floor) 4, Rajuk Avenue in the city from December 3-6 for providing proper evidence.
Contact phone numbers are: 9555537, Mobile numbers- 01819558064, 01819558065 and 01727212169. read more.

* Doubt over justice in Ashulia fire:

A minister and the leader of a garment lobby group at a BBC Sanglap said people responsible for the last week’s fire tragedy should be punished, but the audience at the show expressed doubts over justice.

The debate was created after Rahimul Alam from the audience raised a question: “Would it be possible to punish the responsible persons for the fire incident at Tazreen Fashions on November 24?”
Rahimul was in doubt that the culprits will not be punished.

The BBC Bangladesh Sanglap is a joint initiative of BBC Media Action and BBC Bangla Service.
Commerce Minister GM Quader at the dialogue at BIAM Auditorium said common people are in a confidence crisis as they did not see any punishment in the past for these incidents. read more.

* Labour leaders demand punishment to Tazreen culprits:

The leaders of different labour organisations and students yesterday demanded an immediate arrest of all responsible for a fatal fire that killed at least 111 workers at Tazreen Fashions Ltd.

In separate progra-mmes, the labour leaders also demanded compensation to the victims and necessary treatment for the injured.
Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra held a sit-in programme in front of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association demanding punishment to culprits and at least Tk 10 lakh in compensation to the family of each victim.
They also demanded all pending salaries, including service benefit to the workers and staff who survived. read more.

* Demonstration continues in Ashulia:

Angry workers in Ashulia staged rowdy protest for nearly 45 minutes on Dhaka-EPZ highway as RMG and leather workers attacked several factories in Jamgara on Sunday morning.

The marauding workers were also locked in chase and counter-chase with police on the highway, forcing the law enforcers to lob 10 rounds of tear gas shells and fire at least 20 rounds of rubber bullets.
The law enforcers also charged batons on the workers to disperse the attacking group.
During the demonstration, Mitu, a staff of MD Jeans, fell unconscious.

The demonstration erupted around 10:45am when the workers of Picard Bangladesh Ltd, a leather factory which came under attack on Saturday, came out of their factory and attacked the adjoining ones.
read more.& read more: 50 hurt in Ashulia- All factories closed amid attacks.
  

Garament works protest casualities in Tazrin Garments factory fire incident in the city, demand compensation and implementation of compliance rules in the industry.

* Ashulia region remains restive:

Factories become target of protest by a group of garment workers; law enforcers act tough


Police chase and charge truncheons on reportedly innocent garment workers of AM Design in Ashulia yesterday after a group of unruly workers went on the rampage there. Photo: Anisur Rahman

Stemming from the Tazreen Fashions disaster, garment and leather workers’ agitations in Ashulia industrial belt continued yesterday as they attacked several factories and clashed with industrial police.

They halted traffic on Dhaka-Tangail highway at Jamgara for about 45 minutes.
Police had to resort to teargas, rubber bullets and truncheon charge to disperse them as the workers fought running battles with them.
Mitu, a staff of MD Jeans, lost consciousness when police charged truncheons.
The workers’ unrest began since a fire on November 24 claimed 111 lives at Tazreen Fashions factory in Ashulia.

The demonstrations yesterday began around 9:00am when nearly 1,000 workers of leather factory Picard Bangladesh Ltd in Zirabo came out of their factory to protest garments workers’ attack on their unit on Saturday.
Golam Rouf, director of industrial police, said workers of adjoining garment factories also took to the streets then but police promptly dispersed them. The workers were only interested in dodging a day’s work using any excuse available, he claimed.

Rouf said just before 11:00am, 25 garment workers attacked the Rose Dress factory. The 25 workers had been suspended by Hyun Apparels Ltd, now temporarily closed, in connection with assaulting a factory official.
read more.
& read more.
 

* Trade bodies concerned over industrial unrest:

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) yesterday expressed deep concern over the recent untoward incidents in the readymade garment sector.

The apex trade body also said the leather and footwear factories in Ashulia have now become the target of attacks by the miscreants as some unruly people damaged two factories — Picard and Leatherex — in the area on Saturday.
The FBCCI urged law enforcement agencies to be vigilant and take preventive measures in this regard. read more. & read more. & read more.
   

* Main drivers of apparel industry deserve protection:

Ashulia, the industrial hub on the outskirts of Dhaka, as well as the entire apparel industry are yet to recover from the Tazreen Fashions shock. At least 113 workers died and many others received injuries in a fire incident in Tazreen on November 24 last.

The fallout from the tragic incident is still rocking Ashulia. Last Saturday when the workers went to Tazreen to receive their wages, they were told to collect their wage for the month of November from a factory at Tongi and the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) arranged several buses to take them there. But the workers refused either to accept one month’s salary or to go to Tongi. What they wanted was their legal severance benefits since they were certain that their factory would not be reopened soon. read more.

* Outburst against delaying salary:

Ashulia workers go wild again: Vehicles vandalised;100 hurt in clash with cops

At least 100 persons, including 12 policemen, were injured when thousands of garment workers locked in clashes with the law enforcers at Jamgarh area of Ashulia, in the outskirts of capital city Dhaka, on Sunday.

The traffic movement on Dhaka-Tangail highway, the road link connecting to country’s northern districts, adjacent to the Ashulia industrial zone, remained halted for over two hours when the garment workers put blockade igniting fire on tires and wood pieces.
The garment workers also vandalised around 40 motor vehicles with creating a panicky situation around the Jamgarh Bus Stand and its adjacent areas for hours.
Police said, the situation went almost out of control when several thousand workers, divided in different groups,  conducted attack simultaneously on the law enforcers with stones.

Over one hundred factory owners across the industrial belt, in an instant decision, declared one-day shut down to avoid further untoward incidents.
At one stage a heavy contingent of police, wearing riot gears rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. The entire Ashulia and its surrounding areas turned into a battle field when workers tried to continue their agitation defying police action.  read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.

Tazreen Fashions workers, holding their ID cards in hands, anxiously waiting in front of the factory in Ashulia for payment of their yet unpaid arrear on Sunday. NN photo

   

* Ashulia still volatile, nearly 100 units shut for today:

The authorities shut down around 100 garment factories at Jamgara in Ashulia for Monday as the angry workers continued their demonstration nine days into Tazreen Fashions Ltd fire.

The devastating fire that swept through Tazreen garment factory on November 24 night claimed the lives of 111 people and injured more than 100.
The Monday’s demonstration erupted around 8:15am when the workers of Tazreen and other garment factories started demonstration at a road in Jamgara.

On information, police rushed to the spot and fired several teargas shells to disperse the agitating workers, prompting chase and counter-chase.
The agitating workers also threw brick chips on the law enforcers who are barring them from holding any rally at Jamgara. read more. & read more.
 

* Govt mulls RMG workers’ fed: minister:

Labour minister Rajiuddin Ahmed said on Sunday that the government was considering introduction of participatory committees at readymade garment factories to form a federation of apparel workers.

Expressing deep shock at the tragic incident of fire at the Tazreen Fashions Limited in Ashulia, the minister iterated that no factory would be allowed to operate without adequate safety measures and exit facilities.
‘We are considering introduction of participatory committees at each RMG unit and a garment workers’ federation would be formed with the representatives from each factory,’ Rajiuddin told reporters after a meeting with the US ambassador in Dhaka, Dan Mozena.

The minister’s attention was drawn to the workers’ long standing demand for trade union in the apparel sector that contributes 80 per cent of the country’s total exports of $24 billion.
Rajiuddin said that it was time to ensure safety measures at each RMG unit and the United States had assured assistance in this regard. Labour minister Rajiuddin Ahmed said on Sunday that the government was considering introduction of participatory committees at readymade garment factories to form a federation of apparel workers. read more.

* Garments factories or death traps? :

True, natural disasters are a universal reality and humans have no control over it. But when disasters are man-made, and our preparedness is either non-existent or minimum, we have reasons to be worried.

Damage can be minimised in any sector when if the concerned authorities, like industrial owners, have an effective safety plan and an efficient team to fight such crisis.
Shockingly though, the garments sector here has neither.

The fire incident at Tazreen Fashions is a pathetic reminder of the callousness of the garment’s owner in meeting safety norms of those staggering 6,000 employees that work there. If the death of hundreds wasn’t tragic enough, the lethargy, management capability and the chaos of response by the owners of such factories was unforgivable.

It is a failure of the owners as well as the state, whose agencies seem incapable of making proper surveillance of such a vital sector; which currently earns the highest foreign remittance. read more.

* Seeing beyond garments factories’ inferno:

The country’s worst RMG (readymade garments) factory fire claiming no fewer than 110 lives brings to the fore the uneasy question if the industry is going to witness even greater tragedies once the outpouring and hullabaloo over this incident dissipate over time.

Such a possibility cannot be ruled out as long as the buildings housing such factories are made to comply with the stipulated rules and regulations. An internet search will reveal that incidents of RMG factory fire are almost non-existent in countries like Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong and even Vietnam and Nepal. Vietnam and Nepal as late entrants to apparel manufacturing have apparently managed the sector better than Bangladesh.

A near parallel of Bangladesh’s management of the sector is found in Pakistan where about two months ago, on September 11 this year to be precise, a garments factory and a shoe factory caught fire and accounted for the death of 315 workers and injury to 250 more, the share of the apparel factory being 289 deaths. On that count, Pakistan perhaps tops the list of RMG sector casualties in a single fire incident anywhere in the world. But deaths and injuries from fire in garments factories or other accidents including the collapse of a whole building of a sweater factory make it a routine tragedy in Bangladesh in an unending procession. Over the past six years 1,300 such factories caught fire in which more than 200 people died and 1,100-1,200 workers were left injured and even maimed.
read more.

* Fire check frustration:

One-third of the 89 garment factories visited by fire officials on the second day of safety inspection lack mechanisms to fight blaze.

The drive started in the wake of the deadly Tazreen Fashions fire that killed 111 workers on November 24.
Fifteen teams comprising 60 officials are visiting factories in Ashulia to put the fire safety arrangements into three categories — A, B and C.
In two days of inspection, 163 of the 574 garment factories located in the Ashulia industrial belt were visited.

Some 53 factories, or over 30 percent of those visited by the teams, fall under the C category, meaning they lack fire safety licences, adequate fire extinguishers, hose pipes, water reservoirs and trained workers.
“The factories without fire safety licences will be shut down,” said M Abdus Salam, director of Fire Service and Civil Defence, after the inspection yesterday.

And, factories with poor fire safety records would be given a month to address their faults, he added. “We will take action against the inspectors who have issued licences without verifying the fire safety measures.” read more. & read more.
 

* Firemen ring alarm for RMG owners:

The Fire Service and Civil Defence on the final day of its inspection drive found 11 of the 69 visited garment factories without sufficient safety mechanisms to fight blazes.

The inspection teams visited factories in Savar area yesterday, and classified 24 in the ‘A’ or good category, 34 in the ‘B’ or acceptable category and 11 in the ‘C’ or poor category.
On Thursday and Saturday, some 163 of Ashulia’s 574 garment factories were inspected, and 53 were put in the ‘C’ category — due to lack of fire safety licences, adequate fire extinguishers, hose pipes, water reservoirs and trained workers.

“The scenario is a wake-up call for the factory owners, but they hardly showed any interest towards our suggestions,” M Abdus Salam, director of Fire Service and Civil Defence, said as he wrapped up yesterday’s inspection. read more.

* Factories run uninspected:

Regulatory lapses main cause of Tazreen inferno

Lack of coordination among the regulatory bodies responsible for overseeing compliance issues at the factory level is widely believe to be the main cause of the deadly fire incident in Tazreen Fashion Garments, officials said Sunday.

“Lax monitoring by the regulators coupled with failure to enforce strict safety rules and building codes often leads to devastating blaze at garment factories” a senior Labour Ministry official told The New Nation yesterday, on condition of anonymity.
He added in most of the cases the regulatory bodies neither looked into the deficiencies of compliance issues nor properly monitored safety standard of the factories.
“They are also overlooking the regulatory lapses of a factory taking bribes from the factory owner,” he alleged.
The official further said the issue of the regulatory lapses came to the spotlight while investigating into the Tazreen Fashion inferno. “The ministry’s probe body found such descend in the factory where most of the rules were violated while setting up the factory,” he noted. read more.

* Selling garments, or your soul? :

The world is in a state of turmoil. In September, it was the Prophet Mohammad video which sparked protests in the Muslim world. This was followed by an armed attack on the US Diplomatic Mission in Ben Ghazi, Libya, killing four Americans.
In October, we were rocked by the anti-austerity demonstrations in Spain. In November, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated, resulting in the Gaza death toll soaring past the bloody milestone of 100. Add to this the continuing unrest in Syria, the resurging dissent in Egypt, and we have a scenario of economic upheaval, social unrest, terrorist attacks and the possible threat of a full-scale war in the Middle East.

Apart from the calamities initiated by rivalries and ideological differences, we have also been hit by Mother Nature with tornados and cyclones causing havoc to human lives. In the midst of all the chaos there is, however, one recent tragedy that has shaken all of us– even those who are practically immune to violence and suffering. Yes, I am referring to the fire in the garment factory (Tazreen Fashions) in Ashulia, Bangladesh, which killed 111 workers trapped inside with no fire exit. read more.

* US ready to assist Bangladesh streamlining RMG sector:

US Secretary of Labour Hilda L Solis on Friday assured that her department was ready to help Bangladesh with technical assistance and expertise in the readymade garment sector.

“The US Department of Labor stands ready to help, with technical assistance and expertise, to work with the government of Bangladesh to ensure that this horrific tragedy becomes a watershed moment for Bangladeshi workers’ rights,” a statement of the US secretary of labour issued from Washington said.

The statement also galvanised support for stronger worker protections and institutions to enforce them, from workplace health and safety to workers’ right to organise and bargain collectively.
read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
       

* US eager to ensure safety of BD’s RMG industries: Mozena:

you can read it here….

* Global campaign to push Walmart into fire safety programme:

A global signature campaign has been conducted to push Walmart into having its own fire safety inspection programme following the death of 112 garment workers in the worst ever fire incident in Bangladesh recently.

SumOfUs.org, a site of consumers, workers and shareholders, collected over 89,832 signatures till Saturday on a petition demanding that Walmart join an independent fire safety inspection programme, according to information on its website.

With 821,649 members worldwide to fight for people over profits, SumOfUs.org launched the campaign with a goal of 90,000 signatures on the petition. “Tell Walmart it must join an independent fire safety inspection programme, supported by Bangladeshi and international labour unions, to prevent tragedies like this,” the website carries the message in the petition. read more.

* Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg:

Over the past two decades, Bangladesh’s merchandise exports in current US dollars surged from around $2 billion in FY1992 to $24 billion in FY2012, growing at a heady pace of 13 percent per year.

This is a superb performance by most developing country standards. This export boom was led by one product group — the readymade garments. The RMG exports have surged from $1 billion in FY1992 to a whopping $19 billion in FY2012, which is an amazing 79 percent of total merchandise exports and some 49 percent of total export earnings of Bangladesh (including goods and factor and non-factor services).

There have also been some positive shifts within the garment sector in terms of product composition. While Bangladesh has continued to gain strength in the low-end segment, outperforming the cost escalating competitors in China and India, it is also making some inroads in the high-end segment of name-brand products.
The spread in terms of geographical diversification of RMG exports is also improving, although the US and the European Union continue to be the main buyers. Overall, Bangladesh’s prospect for gaining further market share in the large global RMG market is bright. read more.

* RMG fire accident emerges as a fresh irritant for investment promotion efforts:

The recent devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions in the city’s Ashulia has emerged as a major issue for Bangladesh in its various ongoing and upcoming forums and discussions with the potential foreign investors.

Foreign investors are raising the issue while discussing their investment prospects in Bangladesh and this is a cause for embarrassment for the government officials, a senior official of the Board of Investment (BoI) told the FE Sunday.

The government is going to organise the first-ever international business conference this weekend to attract investors under one of its important programmes — the PPP (Public Private Partnership).

Officials are expecting more than 500 foreign and local investors to gather at the two-day PPP conference to be held on December 07-08. read more.

*  Workers are the life of industry but who cares? :

A catastrophic factory fire at the Tazreen Fashion garment factory in Dhaka took the lives of 111 workers on Saturday, November 24. The factory’s lack of basic safety features compounded the tragedy.

The blaze on Saturday was the deadliest of its kind in Bangladesh and threw a dark spot on the country’s garment sector as whole. More than 200 people died over the past six years in garment factory fires in Bangladesh including one that killed 63 workers in 2003.

Bangladesh has some 4000 garment factories and the country earns about $20 billion a year from exports of garments mainly to the US and Europe. The country’s garment sector has not passed more than 3 decades but it has already been able to account for around 76 per cent of the total merchandise exports.
It is sad but true that the welfare of the workers has not been adequately addressed as yet, despite talks on the issue for a long time. Our garment products represent the name of Bangladesh in world markets which are made by the most ill-paid workers, the bulk majority of whom are women.  read more.

– – – –

* RMG workers attack 3 Picard units:

Readymade garments workers allegedly attacked three factories of Picard Bangladesh Ltd which produce leather goods on the capital’s outskirts Ashulia Saturday afternoon.

At least 20 people — including 10 security guards — were injured and six vehicles ransacked during the attack.
Police said the workers attacked the Picard factories which remained open when garments factories in the area remained closed following unrest over paying arrears to the workers of Maskot garments limited.

Musleh Uddin, deputy manager of the Picard, told The Daily Star that hundreds of workers attacked their factories around 3:15pm, injuring 20 people — 10 security guards and 10 staffers of the factories.
Golam Rauf, a deputy director of Industrial Police, said workers of several garments factories in Jirabo area vandalised at least six vehicles of the staff of the factories and all the windows and gates of the factories. read more.

* Top buyers press for fire safety:

International buyers yesterday recommended the garment makers of Bangladesh immediately upgrade fire safety system at the factories to avert fire deaths.

They also suggested Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA) strengthen its fire safety cell and train the owners first and then the mid-level officials and workers.
The owners called on the representatives of buyers and globally renowned clothing brands at BGMEA building in the capital to clarify their position in the aftermath of Tazreen Fashions blaze.
(…)
“There are a lot of good factories in your country.
India, China, Pakistan and Vietnam are not your competitors. It is your local colleagues; you have competitors in your own house.”

On the Tazreen incident, which left 111 dead and many others injured, he said, “We should do something immediately for the victim families…. We have put money in the bank accounts to disburse money to the victim families.”
Hubert added the rehabilitation of victims should be unbureaucratic.

He also stressed the need for a complete revision of building code and government review of construction regulations.
Jenefa Jabbar, representative of JCpenny, recommended reviewing fire licence of almost every factory, as many factories have a shaky fire safety system.

“When a factory catches fire, workers panic and get hurt in stampede,” she said, emphasising regular fire drills.
Payal Jain, representative of H&M, said there is a clear gap in electrical assessment also in many good factories. read more.
 

* 2 Chinese factories at IEPZ closed:

Two Chinese sweater factories at Ishwardi Export Processing Zone (IEPZ) have been closed for an indefinite period.

The authorities on Thursday night hung a closure notice at the IEPZ’s main gate citing different reasons, including financial crisis and labour unrest.
The two export-oriented factories-Rashita Knitwear and Megatex Knitwear–began its operation here in 2008.
Local sources said about 6,500 workers became unemployed due to closure of the foreign factories.  to read. & read more.
 

* Unrest shuts two RMG factories in Ishwardi EPZ:

 Persistent labour unrest shut Roshita Knitting Wear Ltd and Megha Textile Ltd, both Chinese-owned, in the Ishwardi Export Processing Zone.

“The continuous worker agitations of the past eight-month have hampered the exports, so the authorities have decided to close them down indefinitely,” Sumon Hossain, an executive officer of the two factories, told The Daily Star.
Mahmud Hassan, Ishwardi EPZ’s general manager, blamed the shutdown on the confronting workers.

“The workers defied the company and EPZ rules and continued with their unruly demonstrations. Although we tried to mediate, the workers carried on. It impacted the company’s business,” Hassan told The Daily Star. read more.

* Leather factory attacked:

At least 50 guards and workers of an export-oriented leather factory were injured when several hundred garment workers attacked the company’s premises and vandalised six of its vehicles in Ashulia yesterday.

Located at Pukurpar in Zirabo of Ashulia, Picard Bangladesh Ltd, a Bangladesh-German joint venture, came under attack from the workers at around 3:00pm as its owners, like many readymade garment factories in the area, did not give in to their sudden call for production suspension.

“At least 50 of our staffers, most of them female, became victims of the attack. Over 25 of them were hospitalised with severe injuries,” Musleh Uddin Ahmed, a deputy manager (store) of the factory, told The Daily Star.

Picard Bangladesh, which employs 1,200 people, manufactures leather hand bags, briefcases and small leather goods for exports. Apart from manufacturing its own brands, it produces products for customers based in Australia, Europe, Canada, Japan and Singapore, according to the company’s website. read more.

* Crisis managers in hibernation:

Tasked with resolving problems in the apparel sector, seven regional crisis management committees were formed in 2010. Ever since, these committees exist mainly on paper.

The designated committee for Ashulia zone has yet to sit even one after the Tazreen Fashions tragedy, the deadliest in the country’s garment sector, officials said.

The silence of these committees has raised doubt about what the new taskforce that Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has announced to form. This taskforce, when formed, will ensure that garment owners upgrade fire safety measures within a deadline.

The seven regional committees were assigned not only to deal with the crisis in Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj. They were also to discuss every month the overall situation of the RMG sector, country’s main foreign currency earner.
Formed in June 2010, local lawmakers the respective areas are chiefs of the committees. read more.

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20121204

* To hell and back:

Knowledge of past helped her save lives of 20


Ranjana Akter Sathi

Ranjana Akter Sathi knew there was a glass window which was not encased in an iron frame. It was near the sample room on the third floor of the burnt-out Tazreen Fashions Ltd.

“I knew about it as I am an old employee of Tazreen Fashions,” said Sathi, a 25-year-old sewing operator.
“Right when the fire broke, it occurred to me that I could rescue at least 100 workers through that window.”

Without waiting for instructions from the higher-ups, Sathi, who survived the deadly fire at garment factory Tazreen on November 24, immediately reached out for that secret window.
She broke the glass window and started letting out the panic-stricken workers through it.

“After letting out 20 workers through the window, I stood strong and rescued another 80. I shouted and they jumped through it.”
During the conversation with The Daily Star at her home in Ashulia, a severely injured Sathi recalled the frenetic efforts of the workers for their lives that fateful night.
Although some succeeded, many lost their lives.
read more.

* Ashulia still volatile, nearly 300 units shut for today:


Workers of fire-devastated Tazreen Fashion Ltd prepare a list of the factory workers for salaries Nishchintapur High School School Ground in Ashulia on Monday. Photo: Sk Enamul Haq

The authorities shut down most of the garment factories in Ashulia industrial belt for Monday as the angry workers continued their demonstration nine days into Tazreen Fashions Ltd fire.

The devastating fire that swept through Tazreen garment factory on November 24 night claimed the lives of 111 people and injured more than 100.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in association with workers’ leaders started work on making list of the workers of Tazreen Fashion Ltd on Nishchintapur Non-Government Primary School premises since morning.

The list will include the names of all the workers including the dead, injured and missing ones, BGMEA sources said.
The Monday’s demonstration erupted around 8:15am when the workers of Tazreen and other garment factories started demonstration at a road in Jamgara.
read more.

* PM to hand over Tk 4 lakh to each family of fire victims Tuesday:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will hand over Tk 4 lakh to each of the families of the identified workers killed in Tazreen Fashions ltd in Ashulia on Tuesday. 

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said this at a press briefing at its conference room on Monday evening.
Asked how many families will be provided financial assistance on the day, the BGMEA chief apparently parried the question and said, “Let’s see how many victim families we can keep present.”
He added that the ill-fated workers in the Ashulia incident would get more assistance in the days to come.  “We’re not seeing things from the legal point of view, but from our hearts,” he said.
(…)
He mentioned that BGMEA could not yet identify 990 workers fell prey to the victims in the Ashulia fire. read more. & read more.  & read more. & read more.
     

* Protest in Ashulia continues – Workers clash with police: 50 injured:

At least 50 people were injured in sporadic clashes between law enforcers and garment workers at Ashulia on Monday.
In this backdrop, the authorities of at least 100 factories declared an impromptu holiday for the day yesterday, fearing vandalism and further labour unrest.
Earlier, hundreds of workers returned to the streets in the morning protesting ghastly deaths of their fellows the Tazreen Fashion Garments, sacking of workers and police harassment on them.
Workers have been demonstrating since last Saturday for remedies and compensation to the deceased’s families injured, workers and payment of salaries.
read more.

* Workers’ demo continues in Ashulia:

100 RMG units suspend operation

Clashes between police and garment factory workers at Jamgora of Ashulia left 50 people injured on Monday, forcing around 100 RMG units to suspend operation for the day in the industrial zone.
Labour unrest in the export-oriented apparel factories intensified after termination of workers by an RMG unit as mourners clashed with police for the 9th day after the worst-ever factory fire killed 111 workers of Tazreen Fashions Limited in Ashulia on November 24.
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the stone throwing workers who were protesting at the sacking of their fellows at a factory.
Workers staged violent protests blocking the highway at Jamgora, Shimultala, Gazirchat, Baipail and Narasinghapur and hurled stones at adjacent factories.
Police and witnesses said the workers of Hyun Apparels Ltd at Jamgora staged demonstrations in protest at the termination of its 101 workers last month for their alleged involvement in unrest in the factory. read more.

* Workers gherao BGMEA office:

A readymade garment workers’ platform laid siege to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) office in capital Dhaka on Monday demanding judicial probe into the deaths of at least 110 fellow workers in a factory fire in Ashulia.

The Bangladesh Garments Workers’ Unity also demanded arrest of the Tazreen Fashions Limited owner, Tk 1 million in compensation for the families of each of those killed in last week’s fire, publishing the real number of deceased and arranging for treatment of the injured.

Fire in readymade garment factories are a common phenomenon in Bangladesh which is often blamed on lax security measures, poor wiring, overcrowded workplace, etc. On Nov 24, a devastating fire swept through the ill-fated Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia’s Nischintapur area killing at least 110 workers, according to government estimates. The factory is said to have no emergency exits.
read more. & read more.
 

* BGMEA probe body misses deadline:

The probe committee formed by the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association on fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd failed to submit its report by the deadline expired on Sunday.
The probe committee convenor, SM Mannan Kochi, however said that they had completed the investigation and the report might be submitted today.
The committee missed the deadline as it could not work for two days at the beginning of the five-working day timeframe due to labour unrest in the area, he said.
Probe committee sources said they had visited the factory at Ashilia and recorded the depositions of the survivors.
The committee found negligence of the mid-level management of the factory, some of whom made obstacles to the exit way of the workers, the sources said.
The probe body will recommend punishment of those mid-level officials, the sources said.
BGMEA president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said that the association would make the probe report public. to read.

* BGMEA enlists 990 Tazreen workers to pay wages, compensation:

The BGMEA enlisted names of 990 workers of the fire-ravaged Tazreen Fashions Ltd who will get wages for the month of November along with compensation equivalent to three months’ pay, officials said.

The list has been prepared for payment of wages and compensations to the employees according to their wage-structure, Joint Secretary of the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association) Mr. Rafiqul Islam told the FE Monday evening.

The workers, who were appointed three months to one year ago, will get compensations equivalent to his/her wages.

However, the workers who served for one to two years in the factory will receive compensation equivalent to their three-months’ wages.
read more.

* Compensate– Trade unions urge Walmart:


Bilkis Begum, a worker of Tazreen Fashions, shows the photo of her deceased daughter Munni Akhter at Nishchintapur Primary School ground at Nischintapur of Ashulia yesterday. Bilkis went there to register their names to receive wages. A deadly blaze at the garment factory on November 24 claimed at least 111 lives. Photo: Sk Enamul Haq

Three trade unions yesterday demanded that US retailer Walmart compensate the families of those who were killed or injured in a deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia on November 24.

Walmart is one of the foreign buyers of Tazreen Fashions, a subsidiary of the Tuba Group, according to its website. Its other clients include Carrefour and IKEA.
Apart from compensations, the unions in a letter asked Walmart to bear all expenses of the required treatment of the injured.

An official of the local office of Walmart confirmed that they received the memorandum.
Leaders of the workers’ rights groups requested the world’s largest retailer not to stop outsourcing to Bangladeshi factories. Cancellation of orders would only add to the plight of garment workers, leaving many of them jobless.

“So, you should come to a solution and change your decision,” the memorandum said.
The letter pleaded with Walmart to use its influence to ensure that the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining is respected in its supply chain.
read more.

* 10 injured in (other) Ashulia fire:

At least 10 people were injured after a fire broke out at a garment factory of Birds Group in Ashulia under Savar upazila on Sunday night.

Sources said the fire originated at the finishing and cutting section of the factory in the building’s third floor around 7:45pm.
Finishing and cutting section packing man Joynal Abedin told banglanews, “Noticing fire at a carton, we doused it with fire extinguishers,” he said.

On information, two units of fire fighters rushed in around 8pm. But the fire already doused.
Meanwhile, at least 10 people were injured while trying get out of the factory in a hurry.
Later, the workers of the factory along with others brought out a procession demanding their security at their work place. read more.

* Savar garments catches fire; 24 workers injured while scrambling to get down from factory:

A fire broke out at a multi-storey ready-made garments (RMG) factory at Bus Stand in the upazila town on Monday afternoon.

Locals and firefighters said at least 24 workers were injured while scrambling to get down from the 9-storey Razzak Plaza which houses the RMG unit, to save selves from the fire.
Fire Service and Civil Defence sources said the fire originated at the 4th floor of the building where the sewing section of `Pacific Blue Jeans`- an export-oriented RMG unit, is situated.

As alarm bell was rung, panicked workers scrambled to get down from the 4th floor through a narrow staircase, leaving 24 injured, some of them seriously.
read more. & read more.
 

* Ctg fire service launches drive at RMG units:

Fire Service and Civil Defence in Chittagong launched a 20-day drive on Monday to check the fire safety measures at around 916 readymade garments factories in the port city.

The inspection came nine days into the devastating fire that killed 111 workers and injured over 100 others at Tazreen Fashion Ltd in Nishchintapur of Ashulia.
The fire brigade will submit a report to its headquarters on completion of the drive, reports out Chittagong correspondent.

A total of seven teams, each consisting of four officials, started inspecting in the city garments around 10:00am, Ruhul Amin, deputy director of Fire Service and Civil Defence in Chittagong, told The Daily Star.
If the teams find any factory without fire protection measures, they will give it a one-month time to set up fire fighting equipment, he said. read more.

* They got some fire tools, not training:

Firemen inspect 20 garment factories in Ctg, find safety measures scanty

Most garment factories in the port city have at least a few sets of fire fighting equipment but the workers do not know how to operate the extinguishers, officials of Fire Service and Civil Defence found yesterday.

The factories also do not have adequate water storage capacity and sufficient exits for emergency, said the officials who found the picture after visiting around 20 factories across the city.
Farid Ahmed Chowdhury, senior station officer of the government department in Chittagong, said his team visited five factories yesterday.
Firemen will visit 916 garment factories in Chittagong to check their fire safety measures as a part of an inspection of the country’s garment units after a fire in Ashulia killed at least 110 workers last month. read more.

* Insurers worried over rising RMG accidents:

Insurance companies are concerned over the growing number of accidents in apparel factories as the insurers’ compensation for their clients in the garment sector has been on the rise over the years.

In a move, the companies have decided to devise new policies to handle the menace, especially the fire accidents that kill people and occur mainly due to poor factory management.
“We are the worst sufferers of accidents in factories as we are the leading insurer in the country,” said Nasir A Chowdhury, managing director of Green Delta Insurance Company. read more.

* Ashulia garment fire and after:

The issue of safety in garment factories has again been brought to the fore after the horror of Tazreen Fashions fire. The result of the inspections carried out at the garment belt in the Ashulia area by fire service officials has provided the answer as to why the factories are so susceptible to fire.

Fire service officials inspected 163 factories out of 574 in the Ashulia after the November 24 fire, until Saturday. The findings were appalling. 53 of those inspected factories lacked minimum fire safety standards. They had no fire safety licences; neither had they sufficient number of fire extinguishers, hose pipes, water reservoirs and trained workers.

That means we have kept our garment factories forever ready to be caught on fire. A BGMEA estimate states that during the last 22 years, 275 workers died in fires that broke out in garment factories. This estimate does not, however, take the 111 deaths in November 24 into account.

The outcries, far and wide after the latest incident, again seem to have pricked the conscience of the government, the factory owners and leaders of the industry’s apex body BGMEA. But have such occasional awakenings helped things improve so far? Have the lives of the garment workers become any safer than before? read more.

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20121205

* Hunt down those instigating workers to set fire to RMG factories: PM:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday called upon all concerned to hunt down those instigating the workers to set fire to garment factories and thus thwart their ‘all-destroying games’.

“You’ve noticed workers are frequently being instigated with money to torch garment factories. Why is it happening?…It needs to be identified who’re instigating workers to set fire to factories by giving money like Tk 20,000 or Tk 1 lakh,” she said.
The Prime Minister was distributing cheques among the family members of the Tazreen garment fire victims at her office.

Hasina also urged all concerned to remain alert so that the tragic fire incident like Tazreen garment factory in Ashulia does not reoccur in the future.

The Prime Minister handed over cheques for a total of Tk 2.58 crore — Tk 6 lakh to each family of the 43 Tazreen garment fire victims out of 110 who were killed on November 24.
As per her earlier announcement of financial assistance, Hasina distributed the cheques from the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund, Labor and Employment Ministry, BGMEA, Bankers Association of Bangladesh and Hong Kong-based RMG importer Lee and Fang.
read more. &read more. &read more. &read more. &read more. &read more.
& read more.
         

* Tazreen workers to get full benefits today:

The workers of Tazreen Fashions Ltd affected by the devastating fire will get wages for the month of November along with compensation today (Wednesday) on the premises of the Industrial Relations Institute (IRI) at Tongi in Gazipur.

Some 990 ill-fated workers enlisted by the apparel manufacturers’ association will be given the wages and compensation at 11:00 am.
The decision was taken at a tripartite meeting of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) leaders, garments trade union leaders and the government at the Labour and Employment Ministry at the Secretariat Tuesday.
The workers, who worked for maximum three months, will get wages for the month of November along with compensation worth Tk 1,000. read more. & read more.
  

* ‘An act of sabotage and murder due to negligence’:

The inquiry committee, constituted by the home ministry, has termed the fire tragedy at the Tazreen Garments Factory in Nischintapur as “an act of sabotage and murder due to negligence”.

A member of the inquiry committee on the “Nischintapur Fire Tragedy” revealed this to The Independent. The committee is preparing its report and has already interviewed a number of workers, survivors, owner of the garment factory, witnesses and local people.
On Monday, the inquiry committee separately questioned MD Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tazreen Garments Factory, and its workers. The committee put forward 27 questions to Delwar, and asked him to submit the answers within three days. “Delwar pleaded his innocence before the committee. At one stage, he even started crying. He expressed grief for the tragedy,” the committee member said.
read more.

* We the self-destructive nation! :

We might be the only nation in the world who doesn’t care of their fastest horse in the battle field. The more surprising thing is that instead of taking care, we took all necessary steps to kill that horse!

I am talking about the garment workers of our country. They are our speedy ‘horses’ in the national economy. Keeping the reserve of central bank healthy in return of their sweat, their life stays always ‘unhealthy’. But we hardly listen to their sufferings.

Our authorities apparently think the lives of garment workers have hardly any worth. The death of workers in accidents is taken lightly. Even if the accident takes place because of the fault of garments owners, nothing happens to them.

The whole nation was shocked on November 24 by seeing the long row of dead bodies of Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia. More than hundred workers were killed in a deadly fire. This was the worst tragedy in the industrial history of Bangladesh. People demand proper investigation of the incident and exemplary punishment to the criminals. Unfortunately, even before any investigation had taken place the government declared that it was ‘preplanned’ by a particular group. Instead of advancing ‘conspiracy theory’, the government should expedite investigation and find out the criminals. Otherwise, our garments industry, the world’s biggest exporter of clothing after China, will become unstable.
(…)
Our authorities apparently think the lives of garment workers have hardly any worth.  read more.

* From the ashes of Bangladesh fire, evidence of a complex global supply chain:

In the charred bones of the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory, the labels and logos – sewn and printed in scarlet and royal blue – beckon from the ashes.
Even in ruins, there’s no missing that these T-shirts and jeans were intended for U.S. stores and shopping carts, designed as bargains too good to pass up, or stocking stuffers just in time for the holidays and in just the right size.

But a week after the blaze outside Bangladesh’s capital killed 112 workers, a glaring question remains unanswered: How, exactly, did brands worth fortunes end up in such a place? And what does the odyssey that brings them to market across thousands of miles say about the everyday economics most consumers take for granted?
Retailers and marketers whose clothes were found in the embers, including Wal-Mart, Sears and Disney, are carefully vague in explaining why that was the case. But piecing together the information they provide with records and the insight of apparel and sourcing experts reveals a complex and ever-morphing supply chain, in which Tazreen was just an interchangeable link.

It is a chain whose combination of ultra-low labor costs, maximum flexibility and delegated authority offers undeniable advantages. But it is also comes with considerable risk.
“A lot of people go into the store and see ‘Made in China’ or Bangladesh or India or whatever and it’s almost like this magical thing, that somebody said I want to make some shirts and it shows up the next day,” says Vinod Rangarajan, who advises apparel companies on product development and sourcing for consultant Kurt Salmon.
“But it is a lot more involved than people would imagine.”
In fact, there is no single answer to how and why so many branded garments from Tazreen found their way to U.S. consumers, because that is precisely the advantage of the global supply chain: It never has to be one size fits all.

Some big retailers buy clothes directly from scores of such factories, searching for the production capacity to meet the demands of the coming season’s fast fashions. Others work through supply chain managers, independent suppliers or in-country agents. Still other so-called “vertical manufacturers” produce much of their product line in-house, but turn to a factory like Tazreen to handle specialty items that fall outside their line of expertise.

“There are lots of companies who exist between brands and factories and their job is really to just take technical specifications on an order and turn around and make sure that there is a poly-bagged, perfectly folded item that comes with a SKU (stock-keeping unit) number and a price tag,” said Kevin O’Brien, a partner in Ethix Ventures Inc., a Massachusetts distributor of “ethically sourced” apparel.
read more.

* Factories resume operation at Ashulia amid sporadic clashes:

Garment factories in Ashulia resumed production amid sporadic clashes between the police and workers on Tuesday as labour unrest in the industrial zone on the outskirts of the capital still continued 11 days after the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions.
Workers and the industrial police said garment workers had joined their duties at the factories in Ashulia although an opposition political party had enforced a nationwide shutdown on the day.
Garment units in Ashulia had suspended operation after the country’s worst factory fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Nishchintapur killed at least 111 workers and injured more than a hundred on November 24.

Witnesses said the workers of S Suha Garments at Jamgora rallied at the factory in the morning demanding safety at workplace, adequate compensation for the Tazreen Fashions workers, killed and injured in the deadly fire and stopping of termination of workers.
The police charged baton to disperse the workers who retaliated by hurling stones which left 10 people injured, sources said.
Ashulia industrial police deputy director Muktar Hossain said most of the factories located in the area resumed operation Tuesday morning. The police quickly intervened after some workers of a factory tried to stage demonstrations, he said. read more.

* A future burnt out:

With high hopes for a better living, Bilkis Begum and her 18-year-old daughter Munni Akter joined Tazreen Fashions on November 14, only to have their dreams shattered in ten days.

Munni was killed in a devastating fire at the garment factory on the night of November 24. The fire left at least 111 workers dead.
Along with her husband and daughter, Bilkis came to Ashulia from Satkhira three years ago in search of a better life.
Devastated, she is now considering going back to her village.

The mother and daughter were employed in the same production line on the fifth floor of Tazreen Fashions.
“I survived but my daughter was burnt alive,” Bilkis sighed.

The last time Bilkis saw her daughter was when she was frantically making her way from the fifth floor to the ground floor.
“But I could not follow her as I lost my sight in the thick of the smoke,” she recalled.

Somehow, she managed to get to the sixth floor, from where she exited the building with the help of some male workers through a broken window.
Her husband Shahidul was a worker at Sharmin Garments until November 24, when he resigned. The reason, he said, is, “How can I leave my wife on her own in such a state and go to work?”

“We are jobless now,” Shahidul said. “I don’t know when my wife will get her salary or when we will receive compensation for the loss of our daughter’s life.”
He reiterated their desire to go back to their village in Satkhira.
“The city has become excruciating for us since the deadly fire. We cannot bear the scar for the rest of our lives.” read more.

* Waiting for death:

Momena came from Rangpur for making herself a solvent woman. A day before death she talked to her mother about arrangement of ten thousand taka to be paid as dowry for her younger sister’s marriage.

She assured her mother that she would arrange the money within three months. Momena did not get that chance. She is lost. Her mother and sister could not identify her body from the pile of fire victims of Tazreen Fashions – more than hundred in number. Many of them jumped in panic from various floors of the nine-storey factory building located at the Ashulia industrial belt. There were many more like Momena’s mother who were wailing to see the bodies of their loved ones.

Working conditions at garments factories are notoriously poor, with little enforcement of safety laws while overcrowding and locked fire doors are common. The cause of this fire was not immediately known.

Bangladesh has around 4,500 garment factories and is the world’s biggest exporter of clothing after China. Readymade garments make up 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s $24 billion annual exports.

The Tazreen fire incident recorded the highest ever death toll in a Bangladeshi factory fire. In 2006, eighty four people were killed in a blaze in Chittagong where fire exits had been blocked in the same manner. More than 300 factories near the capital remained shut for almost a week earlier this year as workers demanded higher wages and better working conditions. read more.

* Another Tazreen worker dies:

Another Tazreen Fashions Limited worker succumbed to her severe head injury on Tuesday after fighting for life for the last 10 days.
The worker, Fatema, died at Apollo Hospital in the capital, taking to 112 the number of people killed in the incident of fire at the readymade garment factory at Ashulia on November 25.
Fatema, along with other colleagues, jumped out from the multi-storied factory to escape death, sustained injury in the head.
She was rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital in a critical condition and later transferred to Apollo Hospital for better treatment.
Fatema had been on life support at Apollo since November 25.
Her body was sent to her ancestral home at Madhupur in Tangail, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association leaders said.
to read. & read more. & read more.
   

* Apparel makers optimistic about overcoming fire shock:

Bangladesh apparel makers on Tuesday exuded optimism about overcoming the shock of the fire incident that took 111 lives and destroyed a big factory in Dhaka late last month.

They said the tragic incident had shaken the country’s pivotal ready-made garment (RMG) sector that contributes more than 80 per cent to its aggregate exports of more than $24 billion annually.
The incident has exposed some of its operational risks, making it obligatory to the stakeholders for rectifying all those lapses in order to stay competitive in the trade.
According to the apparel manufacturers and exporters, the tragic fire incident that has riveted the attention of the global media since the day of its occurrence on November 24, may slow down the garment export for a few days. read more.

* Tazreen fire: Our share of corporate criminality:

The Tazreen Fashions fire has been doused, but the thick swirling smoke remains. The country’s worst industrial blaze that claimed 110 lives as per official counts is reportedly the only equivalent of a factory fire in New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911 that killed nearly 150 workers.

The comparison makes little sense, neither in terms of proportions nor in trying to trace a pattern of factory fires as a handy expedient to redeem, however partly, the extent of our corporate criminality. The New York fire occurred more than a hundred years ago, and imagining what the world was like hundred years back should better be a matter of archeological dig when it comes to comparing workplace safety in those days and now. read more.

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* Compensation, salary given:

Over 1,300 workers of fire-ravaged Tazreen Fashions Ltd yesterday received salaries and compensation from company officials under the supervision of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

Salaries and compensation disbursed to 990 workers in line with permanent job scheme and 328 others as per contractual job scheme amounted to Tk 1.2 crore, BGMEA officials said.
“We are giving them [workers] more than their expectations,” Mikail Shipar, labour secretary, told The Daily Star.

BGMEA had wanted to pay a month’s salary to the workers of Tazreen in Ashulia where a devastating fire on November 24 killed 111 people. But the workers demanded pay for another three months and 13 days.
Yesterday, Tazreen paid salaries and compensation to the workers under three categories, complying with the rules, said Shipar.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
       

* Compensation yet a day-dream to many:


Compensation to the families of the majority of the ill-fated garment workers who perished in the blaze at Tazreen Fashions Ltd last week hangs in balance. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed over Tk 6 lakhs as compensation to each family of 37 victims on Tuesday.

But questions have arisen about the payment to 75 other families? Why these victims families are left to wait on alleged ground of finalizing their identity. It is only adding to confusion and fear of  mishandling the package, the sources said.
Total number of dead formally recognized by law enforcing agencies is 112, according to official sources.

Out of them, 57 have been buried at Jurain graveyard in the city and they were burned to such extent that they could not be recognized by families. Raising the issue of their identification, compensation payment to their families remained unsettled although the victims’ families have lost their member. While these families are grieving and trying to overcome the shock, the time table for payment of their compensation is left uncertain.

The labour ministry has set up a four-member committee last week to establish the identities of the dead workers. The sources said, Tazreen Fashions Ltd management has been asked to provide the exact number of workers attending their job on that fateful evening along with their identity cards and the address of all the victims who are on the list of missing at the moment.  read more.

* Do not fire workers:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Wednesday urged its fellow members not to terminate their workers without approval from the Ministry of Labour and Welfare and the BGMEA.

BGMEA second vice president Siddiqur Rahman made the appeal in view of the present situation prevailing in the country’s RMG sector following the devastating fire incident on November 24 that killed some 112 workers at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia.
Addressing a press briefing at BGMEA Bhaban, Siddiq also informed that salary of the workers of fire-ravaged Tazreen fashions were disbursed on Wednesday at Tongi’s Industrial Relations Institute premises. More than 1,000 workers received their salaries along with other benefits.
“All workers were paid in accordance with the labour law as their factory was shut down after the deadly blaze,” said BGMEA vice president SM Mannan Kochi who was present during disbursement of salaries. The benefits included termination facilities because it reopening of the factory looks uncertain.  The injured workers who are under treatment will get their salary and other benefits after recovery, said Siddiq urging them to contact the BGMEA officials.  read more. & read more.
 

* Wal-Mart Nixed Paying Bangladesh Suppliers to Fight Fire :

At a meeting convened in 2011 to boost safety at Bangladesh garment factories, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) made a call: paying suppliers more to help them upgrade their manufacturing facilities was too costly.

The comments from a Wal-Mart sourcing director appear in minutes of the meeting, which was attended by more than a dozen retailers including Gap Inc. (GPS), Target Corp. and JC Penney Co.

Details of the meeting have emerged after a fire at a Bangladesh factory that made clothes for Wal-Mart and Sears Holdings Corp. killed more than 100 people last month. The blaze has renewed pressure on companies to improve working conditions in Bangladesh, where more than 700 garment workers have died since 2005, according to the International Labor Rights Forum, a Washington-based advocacy group.

At the April 2011 meeting in Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, retailers discussed a contractually enforceable memorandum that would require them to pay Bangladesh factories prices high enough to cover costs of safety improvements. Sridevi Kalavakolanu, a Wal-Mart director of ethical sourcing, told attendees the company wouldn’t share the cost, according to Ineke Zeldenrust, international coordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign, who attended the gathering. Kalavakolanu and her counterpart at Gap reiterated their position in a report folded into the meeting minutes, obtained by Bloomberg News.
(…)
Zeldenrust (CCC) called Wal-Mart’s position “shocking.”
“You know it is extremely important, and they say: ‘There’s no way we’re going to pay for that,’” said Zeldenrust, whose Amsterdam-based organization pushes for improved working conditions in the global garment industry. read more. & read more.
  

* Walmart refused to pay Bangladesh suppliers to fight fire:

At a meeting convened in 2011 to boost safety at Bangladesh garment factories, Walmart Stores Inc made a call: paying suppliers more to help them upgrade their manufacturing facilities was too costly, reports Bloomberg.
PVH Corp, which owns the Tommy Hilfiger brand, and German retailer Tchibo signed the memorandum earlier this year. Gap, which has pledged funding for safety improvements and hired a chief fire safety inspector, had been in negotiations to sign the agreement.
The retailer eventually declined, objecting to higher prices, publicly disclosing Bangladesh factories and to making the memorandum contractually enforceable, said Scott Nova, executive director of the Washington-based Worker Rights Consortium, who attended the meeting. read more.

* PM stresses upholding RMG sector’s reputation:

 She reassures govt’s commitment to ensure workplace safety

Reaffirming her government’s commitment to provide all possible cooperation in ensuring safety in workplaces, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said it is the responsibility of all to uphold the reputation of Bangladesh’s apparel industry earned through public-private initiatives.

“Bangladesh’s apparel industry has earned global appreciation through public-private initiatives. It’s the responsibility of all to uphold the goodwill,” she said while addressing the inaugural session of a two-day international conference on ‘Positioning Bangladesh: Branding for Bangladesh’ at a city hotel.

Hasina also urged all, including the owners, officials and workers, to remain alert against the recurrence of tragic incident like the recent Ashulia factory fire in which a good number of workers died.

Mentioning that the goodwill earned through rigorous efforts over a long period can be destroyed within a moment because of the negligence or a minor fault, she said adding, “There must not be minimum compromise in this regard.”
read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more.
     

* No more such fire tragedy:

PM asks industries to ensure workplace safety

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday reaffirmed her commitment to provide all possible cooperation in ensuring safety at workplaces.

She urged all to remain alert so that no tragic incident like the recent one occurs at any garment factory in Ashulia.
“Bangladesh’s apparel industry has earned global reputation through the public-private initiative. It is the responsibility of all to uphold the goodwill.
“I would like to request all concerned including workers, employers and officials to remain alert so that any tragic incident like that of Ashulia does not occur in future,” she said. read more.

* Factories resume operation at Ashulia amid sporadic clashes:

Garment factories in Ashulia resumed production amid sporadic clashes between the police and workers on Tuesday as labour unrest in the industrial zone on the outskirts of the capital still continued 11 days after the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions.

Workers and the industrial police said garment workers had joined their duties at the factories in Ashulia although an opposition political party had enforced a nationwide shutdown on the day.
Garment units in Ashulia had suspended operation after the country’s worst factory fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Nishchintapur killed at least 111 workers and injured more than a hundred on November 24.
Witnesses said the workers of S Suha Garments at Jamgora rallied at the factory in the morning demanding safety at workplace, adequate compensation for the Tazreen Fashions workers, killed and injured in the deadly fire and stopping of termination of workers.
The police charged baton to disperse the workers who retaliated by hurling stones which left 10 people injured, sources said. read more.

* Tazreen probe finds proof of negligence:

Tazreen Fashions managing director Delwar Hossain on Sunday said he was facing difficulties in clearing the wages of the workers of the factory gutted by a devastating fire on November 24.

‘I am mentally disturbed …,’ he told New Age minutes before going to face an interrogation by an inquiry committee under the ministry of home affairs in the evening.
He said he was worried because of the huge liabilities of clearing the payments of the workers.
Delwar said he would go by the decision of the BGMEA, the association of garment factory owners, to settle the issue.
He said he was not to blame for the tragic fire on November 24 that killed 111 workers.

He said foreign buyers would not give work order if his factory was found non-compliant.
Main Uddin Khandaker, chief of the four-member investigation committee and additional secretary to the ministry of home affairs, said they had found enough evidence of negligence by the factory management that caused so many casualties.
‘So many people would not have died if the management had shown a little more responsibility,’ he said, adding that collapsible gates had been locked despite fire alarm.

Main Uddin said the committee might recommend arrest of the owner even before completing the investigation as he could not avoid responsible for the fire.
Home ministry officials said Delwar was asked to answer 29 questions. Besides, the committee questioned him as part of the interrogation. Delwar tried to shift the blame on others.
They said it was not yet decided whether the probe report would be made public.
read more.

* BGMEA to publish probe report on Tazreen fire by Dec 20:

BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) will publish its investigation report on the devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia by December 20. The fire claimed at least 112 lives of workers and injured several others.

“This time we will definitely publish the report,” vice president of BGMEA Md Siddiqur Rahman said Wednesday at a press briefing at the association’s office in the city.

Admitting the delay in publishing the report, he said investigation was going on slowly due to the unavailability of banking documentation of the factory, without elaborating on details. read more.

* Should the BGMEA wake up? :

Wal-Mart, the biggest chain outlet of garments in the USA and abroad has indicated to refrain from buying apparels from Tazreen Fashions because of the recent tragedy in Ashulia, Dhaka.

As is usual in this country, there is presently a blame game going on. There are people who are attributing the fire to sabotage and conspiracy, while others are putting the blame on the building design, closure of collapsible gates, lack of proper emergency exits, inadequate safety measures in the factory to fight the break-out of fire etc.

It is time we should take a serious look at the state of things in the readymade garment sector. The fire, worst of its kind in the history of factory fires in the country, claimed as many as 111 lives as per official estimate.

It has caused limitless suffering to hundreds of families. The first thing that should be done immediately is to investigate into the matter as quickly as possible to identify those responsible for the deaths of so many innocent workers. There should not be any mercy to those whose murderous neglect led to the tragedy.

There are people in the country who opine that the role of the BGMEA is questionable. The Association, most people in the country know, is housed in a massive building raised on unauthorised land. read more.

* Most garment factories in Ctg lack fire safety checks:

Most garment factories in Chittagong do not have concealed electric wiring systems, and their emergency stairs are too narrow to be effective in case of fire incidents.

They lack water storage capacity and fire-fighting tools, according to findings by seven teams of Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence.
The teams consisting of four officials in each inspected 74 garment factories in the port city in the last three days.
Inspection of the fire safety systems started in Chittagong on Monday, as part of an effort to inspect the country’s garment units after the Ashulia tragedy on November 24.
The firemen will check 916 factories and submit a report to their headquarters in 20 days. read more. & read more.
 

* Key buyer backs pay hike for RMG workers:

Bangladesh needs to deal with four specific issues immediately — a wage hike for workers being one of those — to maintain higher export growth of its readymade garments, said a major international buyer yesterday.
The other issues are ensuring safety in factories, developing mid-level management and improving infrastructure, said David Savman, country manager of Swedish retail chain H&M. read more.

* Factory fire: a call to action:

Mozena advises Bangladesh to fix workplace safety problems to obtain duty-free privileges from US
US Ambassador Dan Mozena yesterday advised Bangladesh to fix workplace safety and labour rights problems immediately — to obtain duty-free privileges from his country. read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
read more. & read more.
       

 

* Clothing patterns for US marines found at fire site:

Order forms and design specs for sweatshirts and tank tops emblazoned with US Marine Corps insignia and logos have been found inside the smouldering wreckage of the Tazreen Fashions factory, activists in Bangladesh have told ABC News.

Worker rights groups in the US expressed outrage that an overseas factory with clearly identified safety problems would be selected to manufacture clothing for a licensee of the United States Marines.

“The fact that Marines logo clothing was found in the rubble of the sweatshop fire should serve as a wake-up call to the US government to put into place safeguards to ensure decent working conditions in government supply chains and among licensees,” said Liana Foxvog of the International Labour Rights Forum.

As with Wal-Mart, Disney, Sears, and other well-known American clothing brands whose clothing was found on the Tazreen factory floor immediately after the blaze that killed 112 workers last week, both the US Marine Corps and the North Carolina-based company that was making items under a licensing agreement with the Marines said they did not know about or approve of any arrangement to make garments there. read more.

* RMG sector: Secret of success and causes of unrest:

The ready-made garment (RMG) sector is the life-blood of Bangladesh economy achieving higher export growth every year. The sector is now the largest contributor not only to overseas trade but also to the national economy.

Bangladesh textiles and RMG industry comprises 155,557 units – 148,000 handlooms units, 3,284 mechanised primary textile units, 5150 export-oriented readymade garments manufacturing units and 273 garments washing-dyeing units. The sector is a major foreign exchange earner for Bangladesh contributing 77 per cent to the country’s net exports. At the end of the fiscal year 2011, total export of Bangladesh garments was worth US$ 23 billion, a 43 per cent increase over the previous year, accounting for almost 25 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product).

Indirectly, the garment sector, which has started its journey in Bangladesh in the early 1980s, employs scores of people in the country. The sector alone directly employs 4.2 million skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers. Of them, an overwhelming number of workers are women. This has made an impact on the social status of many women coming from low- income families. read more.

* Trade unions and labour groups’ demands to buyers from Tazreen Fashions:

Bangladeshi trade unions and international organizations are calling on all brands sourcing from the devastated Tazreen Fashions factory, which burnt down last weekend killing 112 workers, to provide emergency relief, medical costs and compensation to all those affected by the fire.

They are also being asked, along with other key brands and stakeholders, to ensure an immediate and transparent investigation into the events surrounding the fire and to take urgent steps to prevent future tragedies in the industry.

The full demands being made of brands sourcing from Tazreen Fashions are:
1. Full redress for the victims
2. Full and transparent investigation
3.  Prevention of future incidents
(…)
Brands sourcing from the Tazreen Fashions factory should send a delegation to Bangladesh to meet victims and their families, trade unions and labour rights organisations and work with other buyers to ensure these demands are met.
read more.

* Vigils at European C&A stores for Justice Tazreen Fire Victims:

* Vigils in Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Austria follow actions in    Hong Kong, India and the US  
* Brands must pay compensation and sign Bangladesh Fire and Building
   Safety Agreement  
*  Need for independent investigation into the root causes of the fires

This week Clean Clothes Campaigns in Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Austria organise candlelight vigils in front of C&A stores. The labour rights group calls upon C&A and other buyers from the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh to ensure compensation to the victims, take credible steps to prevent future tragedies in the industry and support a full and transparent investigation into the
fires.

C&A and Li&Fung have confirmed that they were sourcing from Tazreen at the time of the fire that caused the death of at least 124 workers, and injured more than 50. Other companies that confirmed sourcing from Tazreen in the past year include Spanish companies Sfera and Hipercor (subsidaries of El Corte Inglés) and the German discounter KIK.

“With the vigils we want to pay respect to the victims, and expect from companies sourcing from Bangladesh that they join the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement to ensure nobody has to die to produce our clothes” says Christa De Bruin, International Coordinator at CCC The Netherlands.

In Hong Kong, labour groups took to Li & Fung’s head office to demand immediate action from the sourcing agent. In India and the US, labour unions and supporters groups lit candles in remembrance of the victims.

To prevent future tragedies, campaigners also call on brands to sign on to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement, developed prior to last week’s tragedy by Bangladeshi and global unions and labour rights organizations.
The agreement provides for, amongst other actions, independent inspections of supplier factories, public reporting, mandatory repairs and renovations, a central role for workers and unions in both oversight and implementation, supplier contracts with sufficient financing and adequate pricing, and a binding contract to make these commitments enforceable.

Companies PvH (Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein) and Tchibo have already signed this Agreement. The Agreement becomes effective once four companies sign up. Allowing trade unions to freely operate in workplaces will also play an important role in fire prevention by giving workers a voice in their workplaces.

“It is not sufficient to just pay humanitarian aid. C&A and Li&Fung are responsible for full redress of the victims. They should contribute to the loss of income and compensation for pain and suffering, in line with international standards”, says Tessel Pauli from the Clean Clothes Campaign International Secretariat.

In addition to compensation to the families of the deceased for damages and loss of earnings, the brands are expected to provide compensation for injured workers, cover costs of emergency relief and medical treatment and to compensate loss of earnings suffered by workers recovering from injuries and for those left unemployed as a result of the fire.  read more.

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20121207

* Commotion over salary persists:

More than 100 workers of fire-ravaged Tazreen Fashions demonstrated at Nishchintapur Primary School in Ashulia demanding salary and compensation yesterday.

Workers started gathering on the school ground around 8:30am, and started demonstration as their names were not on the victims’ list prepared by the factory authorities, industry association and labour rights groups.
Dozens other joined the protest for they got “less salary than expected”. Some of them refused to take the money.

Kolpona, who worked at the finishing section of Tazreen, said: “I fled the factory after hearing the fire alarm.”
She refused to take Tk 7,000 the company officials offered.

Kolpona, whose identification card number is 1,823, says she is entitled to a payment of over TK 15,000 — three months and 13 days’ salary at the rate of Tk 2,634 per month, her gross salary of Tk 3,900 for November and another Tk 3,000 for her earned leave she did not enjoy. She joined Tazreen Fashions on April 9, 2011.
“I want my full salary. I refused to take the money [Tk 7,000] on Wednesday,” she told The Daily Star yesterday. read more.

* Five Wal-Mart vendors made clothes at Tazreen factory:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which has acknowledged one of its suppliers used the Bangladesh factory where more than 100 people died in a November 24 blaze, worked with at least five suppliers there this year, documents found in the ruins by a labour-rights group show.

Wal-Mart said the Tazreen factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, was no longer authorised to produce merchandise for the company and that it had cut ties with one supplier that kept using the facility. It’s not clear if any other suppliers continued to use the factory, which Wal-Mart had de-authorised before the blaze, the company said.

Purchase orders, shipment statements, inventory reports and other documents show that two New York-based suppliers for Wal-Mart and a third in California had sourced merchandise from Tazreen. Two companies in Bangladesh also manufactured apparel there for Wal-Mart, the records show. As recently as September, five of 14 production lines at the factory were making shirts and pajamas for Wal-Mart, an income report shows.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
      

* Workers under constant threat:

700 RMG units run with poor safety

Nearly 700 apparel units in the country are running their operation without fire safety measures posing a constant threat to security of lives for the workers, sources said.
They said these factories did not install adequate fire fighting equipments, emergency fire exists and flouted building codes while setting up manufacturing units and godowns.
 ”Most of them do not have adequate fire extinguishers and even they never run fire drill and trained its workers about how to respond when a fire breaks out at a factory,” a BGMEA office bearer told the New Nation yesterday, on condition of anonymity.
BGMEA members own a total of 5063 factories mostly located in Dhaka and Chittagong regions.
The fire safety issue at readymade garment (RMG) manufacturing units comes to the spotlight again following the devastating fire incident at Tazreen Fashion Ltd at Ashulia. The inferno killed at least 113 workers of the factory. read more.

* Death of poor workers in devastating fire:

Consequence of the devastating fire in Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia is the death of 112 poor workers who were burnt to death. Many other sustained injury while they jumped out from roof top and windows of the factory.

Earlier many workers have lost their lives and were wounded seriously due to fire incidents in several garments factories.

We, however, wonder that neither the owner, director, manager nor any officer of any garments factory have been reported to have died or been wounded seriously so far.

How could they escape death or injuries? Would the police, RAB or DB police find out the secret kindly. to read.

* Labour leaders demand arrest of Tazreen owner, more damages:

Bangladesh National Council of Textile Garments and Leather Workers on Thursday demanded arrest of the owner of Tazreen Fashions Limited and more compensation for the families of workers who died or were injured in the deadly fire at the factory.

Chairman of the labour rights body Roy Ramesh Chandra at a press conference expressed anger at the factory owner, Delwar Hossain, not being arrested yet regarding the fire incident at his Ashulia factory that consumed more than 100 workers on November 24.
Demanding proper investigation into the fire the labour leaders also demanded exemplary punishment of those responsible and more compensation for the families of the deceased and the injured as well. read more. & read more. & read more.
 

* Safety gets risky for corruption:

Two dozens of licences fail to ensure improved workplace condition as unscrupulous govt staff join hands with errant factory owners

The existing rules for setting up factories are stringent enough to prevent large-scale accidents. But accidents continue to happen due to factory owners’ negligence in ensuring workplace safety and regulators’ reluctance to enforce the relevant laws.

To run a factory, entrepreneurs require more than two dozen permissions from various authorities, at least seven of them directly related to workers’ safety.
The authorities are Rajuk, Fire Service and Civil Defence, environment department, chief inspector of factories, boiler licensing authority, insurance companies and the business association concerned.

In addition, factory owners must take permission from the Export Promotion Bureau, Board of Investment, the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms and the Controller of Imports and Exports. These offices basically deal with money matters but can still interfere in ensuring workplace safety.

The issue of workers’ safety has come to the fore following the Tazreen Fashions fire that claimed at least 111 lives. An investigation into the blaze is on but it is clear that the factory had poor safety measures in place. read more.

* Make uniform fire safety checklist: official:

The Department of Fire Service and Civil Defence yesterday suggested the government introduce a standardised fire-safety checklist for factories for ease of inspection.

“At present, the checklists vary across the sectors, making the job harder for us,” the fire department’s Director General Abu Nayeem Shahidullah told reporters after a meeting at the commerce ministry on social compliance in the readymade garment sector.

At the meeting, Commerce Minister GM Quader instructed the factory owners to put at least 25 percent of the workers on fire safety training immediately, a senior official of the ministry said.
The training has to be continued every month, the minister added.
The minister also asked the factory owners to set up closed-circuit televisions to monitor the safety measures.
The minister, however, declined to comment after the meeting. to read.

* Govt orders regular fire drill for workers:

The government on Thursday directed all the readymade garment factories to organise regular fire drill to train up their workers and staff to avert recurrence of fire incidents in the garment factories.

The Ministry of Commerce gave the directives at a meeting of the ‘Social Compliance Forum’ of the garment factories.
Commerce Minister GM Quader presided over the meeting of the forum which is formed comprising representatives of the garment sector and related ministries.
The ministry’s Public Relations Officer Abdul Latif told reporters that the factories were directed to impart fire drill training on at least 25 percent of their workers immediately and all the workers in phases.  read more.

* Social Compliance Forum asks all to be more vigilant to avoid accidents:

The Social Compliance Forum (SCF) Thursday asked all concerned, especially the factory owners, to strictly comply with safety rules to avoid deadly incidents like Tazreen Fashions fire, sources said.

The SCF also asked them to follow other compliance issues giving utmost importance.

A meeting of the SCF was held at the commerce ministry Thursday with Commerce Minister G M Quader in the chair. State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnujan Sufian and representatives from different ministries and departments, factory owners, trade bodies and other stakeholders attended the meeting.
G M Quader, however, declined to talk with newsmen about the outcome of the meeting. read more.

* US buyers seek trade union rights for RMG workers:

In a breakfast meeting with local exporters Thursday, American buyers sought trade union rights for workers in their factories in Bangladesh. They also wanted to see a major improvement in Bangladesh’s factory environment, especially in the garment sector, meeting sources said.

The high profile breakfast meeting with the American buyers took place at the city’s Ruposhi Bangla hotel. A senior official of the Board of Investment (BoI), representatives from the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Associa-tion), American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Bangladesh and the Leather Goods & Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) took part in the meeting.

At least six reputed American buyers, who are mainly involved in apparel and footwear business were present at the breakfast meeting. read more.

* US, EU stress improving factory safety:

US and European Union ambassadors to Bangladesh on Thursday stressed on improving safety standards in garment factories in the country. 
In separate meetings with the leaders of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association at the BGMEA office, the ambassadors expressed their concern about factory safety in Bangladesh, following the recent fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Ashulia. read more.& read more.
 

* EU ambassador William Hanna  &  US amb. Mozena tells BGMEA to allow trade unions in factories:

US Ambassador Dan W. Mozena Thursday urged the readymade garment (RMG) entrepreneurs to improve workplace environment and ensure the rights of the workers to form trade unions if Bangladeshi apparel were to enjoy duty-free access to the US market.
The envoy made the specific suggestions while taking to the executives of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) when he made a surprise visit to the BGMEA Bhaban Thursday afternoon.
you can read more. & read more.
 

* Horrific Bangladesh factory fire revealed a gap in safety for global brands:

The fire alarm shattered the monotony of the Tazreen Fashions factory. Hundreds of seamstresses looked up from their machines, startled. On the third floor, Shima Akhter Pakhi had been stitching hoods onto fleece jackets. Now she ran to a staircase.

But two managers were blocking the way. Ignore the alarm, they ordered. It was just a test. Back to work. A few women laughed nervously. Ms. Pakhi and other workers returned to their sewing tables. She could stitch a hood to a jacket in about 90 seconds. She arranged the fabric under her machine. Ninety seconds. Again. Ninety more seconds. She sewed six pieces, maybe seven.

Then she looked up.

Smoke was filtering up through the three staircases. Screams rose from below. The two managers had vanished. Power suddenly went out throughout the eight-story building. There was nowhere to escape. The staircases led down into the fire. Iron grilles blocked the windows. A man cowering in a fifth-floor bathroom called his mother to tell her he was about to die.

“We all panicked,” Ms. Pakhi said. “It spread so quickly. And there was no electricity. It was totally dark.”

Tazreen Fashions Ltd. operated at the beginning of the global supply chain that delivers clothes made in Bangladesh to stores in Europe and the United States. By any measure, the factory was not a safe place to work. Fire safety preparations were woefully inadequate. The building itself was under construction — even as sewing work continued inside — and mounds of flammable yarn and fabric were illegally stored on the ground floor near electrical generators.

Yet Tazreen was making clothing destined for some of the world’s top retailers. On the third floor, where firefighters later recovered 69 bodies, Ms. Pakhi was stitching sweater jackets for C&A, a European chain. On the fifth floor, workers were making Faded Glory shorts for Walmart. Ten bodies were recovered there. On the sixth floor, a man named Hashinur Rahman put down his work making True Desire lingerie for Sears and eventually helped save scores of others. Inside one factory office, labor activists found order forms and drawings for a licensee of the United States Marine Corps that makes commercial apparel with the Marines’ logo.

In all, 112 workers were killed in a blaze last month that has exposed a glaring disconnect among global clothing brands, the monitoring system used to protect workers and the factories actually filling the orders. After the fire, Walmart, Sears and other retailers made the same startling admission: They say they did not know that Tazreen Fashions was making their clothing.

But who, then, is ultimately responsible when things go so wrong?

The global apparel industry aspires to operate with accountability that extends from distant factories to retail stores. Big brands demand that factories be inspected by accredited auditing firms so that the brands can control quality and understand how, where and by whom their goods are made. If a factory does not pass muster, it is not supposed to get orders from Western customers.

Tazreen Fashions was one of many clothing factories that exist on the margins of this system. Factory bosses had been faulted for violations during inspections conducted on behalf of Walmart and at the behest of the Business Social Compliance Initiative, a European organization.

Yet Tazreen Fashions received orders anyway, slipping through the gaps in the system by delivering the low costs and quick turnarounds that buyers — and consumers — demand. C&A, the European retailer, has confirmed ordering 220,000 sweaters from the factory. But much of the factory’s business came through opaque networks of subcontracts with suppliers or local buying houses. Labor activists, combing the site of the disaster, found labels, order forms, design drawings and articles of clothing from many global brands. read more.

+++++++++++++++++

20121208

* Confusion over Tazreen toll:

Labour rights activists yesterday claimed the number of casualties in the Tazreen fire is much higher than the official count.

The government put the number of dead at 111 and that of missing at 53.
But Moshrefa Mishu, president of Garments Sramik Oikya Forum (GSOF), a labour rights organisation, insisted that over 200 workers died in the blaze.
Dozens have remained missing since the incident two weeks ago, Mishu said at a press conference.

At a separate press meet, three researchers and rights activists put the number of missing workers at 59.
Saydia Gulrukh, a researcher from the University of North Carolina, said the journalists and fire-fighters who rushed to the fire site on the night of November 24 think the authorities were evasive about the total number of casualties.

The activists also came down heavily on the government and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) for siding with Delowar Hossain, owner of Tazreen Fashions, from the very beginning.
“BGMEA has maintained its tradition by siding with the owners,” said Anu Muhammad, professor of economics at Jahangirnagar University.

The rights activist said the government has been trying to protect Delowar by painting the incident as an act of sabotage.
“Although the government talks about sabotage there is no sign of investigating the reasons and people behind it,” he said. read more. & read more.
 

* Some Tazreen workers stage demo for payment:

A group of workers of Tazreen Fashions Ltd staged demonstration in front of the BGMEA office Saturday demanding wages and compensations.

The workers who are yet to get the benefits participated in the demonstration led by general secretary of Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendro, Montu Ghosh.

Their demands included wages and all arrears, compensation, free treatment of injured workers, safety of workers at work places, publication of probe report and immediate steps on the basis of recommendations of the probe report, trade union rights and setting up of information centre near the factory to identify the dead and injured workers. read more.

* Most Tazreen workers fail to manage new jobs:

Hundreds of workers of the Tazreen Fashions Ltd (TFL) who are now jobless following the devastating fire in the factory are unable to manage new jobs as recruitment process in most of the factories for the next year has been completed, workers said.

After paying full benefits to the workers Wednesday (December 5), the owner of the TFL announced permanent closure of the factory.

“After the devastating blaze, we were busy in realising our wages and compensation. But, now we are jobless and have no other means to maintain our family,” Ripon Sarker, a worker of Tazreen, told the FE. read more.

* Bangladesh factory lacked fire clearance:

Tazreen factory lost its fire safety certification in June, five months before deadly blaze, fire official says.

A Bangladesh garment factory that was producing clothes for Wal-Mart, Disney and other major Western companies had lost its fire safety certification in June, five months before a blaze in the facility killed 112 workers, a fire official told the AP news agency.

Separately, the owner of the Tazreen factory told AP that he had only received permission to build a three-storey facility but had expanded it illegally to eight stories and was adding a ninth at the time of the fire.
The revelations about the deadliest garment fire in Bangladeshi history provide insight into the lack of safety enforcement at the country’s more than 4,000 garment factories.
The powerful garment industry is responsible for 80 per cent of the South Asian nation’s exports.

Safety violations
A Dhaka fire official said the Tazreen factory’s fire safety certification had expired on June 30, and fire officials refused to renew it because the building did not have the proper safety arrangements.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, would not provide details of the violations.
“I can’t explain more because the case is very sensitive and this is under investigation,” the official said.
The factory did not have any fire exits for its 1,400 workers, many of whom became trapped by the blaze. Investigators have said the death toll would have been far lower if there had been even a single emergency exit. read more.

* Tazreen lost fire safety clearance months before tragedy:

The factory where 112 garment workers died in a fire should have been shut down months ago. The fire department refused to renew the certification it needed to operate, a top fire official told The Associated Press. And its owner told AP that just three of the factory’s eight floors were legal. He was building a ninth.

Government officials knew of the problems, but the factory just kept running.

The Capital Development Authority could have fined Tazreen Fashions Ltd. or even pushed for the demolition of illegally built portions of the building, said an agency official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. But it chose to do nothing, rather than confront one of Bangladesh’s most powerful industries, he said.

“I must say we have our weaknesses. We could not do that,” he said. “Not only Tazreen. There are hundreds more buildings. That’s the truth.”

Bangladesh’s $20 billion-a-year garment industry, which accounts for 80 percent of Bangladesh’s total export earnings, goes virtually unchallenged by the government, said Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, a labor rights group.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
   

* Walmart blocked safety push in Bangladesh:

Documents found at the Tazreen apparel factory in Bangladesh, where 112 workers died in a fire nearly two weeks ago, indicate that three American garment companies were using the factory during the past year to supply goods to Walmart and its Sam’s Club subsidiary.

The documents — photographed by a Bangladeshi labour organiser after the fire and made available to The New York Times — include an internal production report from mid-September showing that five of the factory’s 14 production lines were devoted to making apparel for Walmart.

In a related matter, two officials who attended a meeting held in Bangladesh in 2011 to discuss factory safety in the garment industry said on Wednesday that the Walmart official there played the lead role in blocking an effort to have global retailers pay more for apparel to help Bangladesh factories improve their electrical and fire safety. read more.

* Any insurance claim made against Tazreen Fashions fire? :

More than a week has passed since Bangladesh’s worst garment industry tragedy killed 113, injured hundreds and displaced thousands from home, hearth and livelihood.
We have seen photos and films of wailing widows, heard the cries of orphans and the silent grief of parents. This is a normal phenomenon in our country and will soon fizzle out. The usual blame game among owners, government, firemen, police, buyers and know-alls is going on at full pitch while the bankers, investors and multi-lateral giants wait in the wings to join the fray. read more.

* Corruption nexus behind garment tragedies:

An investigative report in the Friday issue of this paper has revealed how safety issues in the garment factories have been seriously compromised by some owners in cahoots with a section of corrupt government officials.

The recent fire tragedy at the Tazreen Fashions in Ahulia itself provides a glaring example of such corruption nexus and its dreadful consequence.

The facts that have come to light from the report are flabbergasting. First, the factory is housed in a structure that has got no permission from the building regulator Rajuk. Worse yet, its design has been found to be faulty. But the question is what were its inspectors doing when this unauthorised eight-storied construction was progressing in that garments belt? Second, the building had no reservoir for water–neither underground, nor overhead. Such mandatory requirement was flouted due to failure of the regulatory bodies.

While a building’s emergency exits should lead to the outside, that factory’s staircases to the exits have reached the ground floor thereby violating the standards. And as to the infringement of construction rules, the ground floor is not an open space, but one converted into a warehouse clogged with flammable substances like fabrics.

The report detailed how all the relevant building safety codes were flouted one by one and at every step of its construction in connivance with some unscrupulous officials of the regulatory bodies. There have been lapses on the part of Rajuk, fire service and civil defence department, environment department, chief inspector of factories, boiler licensing authority, insurance companies, etc. read more.

* BGMEA to sign MoU with architects to ensure fire safety in RMG units:

Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is going to sign a MoU (memorandum of understanding) with the architects with a view to identifying the problems and finding out solutions to ensure fire safety in the country’s RMG factories.

“I have already talked to BUET, Institute of Diploma Engineers and Institute of Architects Bangladesh who will be part of our taskforce,” Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, President of BGMEA told the FE.

“A high-powered taskforce would be formed soon to ensure security in the RMG factories, and of course fire safety is the top most priority,” he said. read more.

* Fire fighting tools’ demand spikes on Tazreen tragedy:

Prices increase by 30pc in two weeks

The bane of fire victims of the Tazreen Fashions Limited turned a boon to those trading in fire fighting equipment, as their sales volume increased many times across the country in just two weeks, importers and traders said.

Factories, especially the apparel units, were the main buyers of the fire fighting equipment, according to the traders.
To meet the high demand, many of the importers either opened fresh letters of credit (LCs) or were doing so for importing the equipment in a larger volume, they added.
read more.

* Ershad takes responsibility of 2 children:

Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad has taken responsibility for bringing up two children who lost both their parents to the November 24 fire at Tazreen Fashions.

Ershad yesterday went to see the two orphans, 10-year-old Seema and her five-year-old brother Zakaria, at Buripara Narshinghapur in Ashulia. The siblings come from Rangpur but are now staying with their two distant uncles in Ashulia.
The former president publicly announced that he would provide the orphans with food, shelter, treatment and education “until they are independent and married off”.
read more.

* BGMEA’s training programme for workers, management people starts from tomorrow:

The country’s apex body for apparel-BGMEA will start the crash training programme Monday in a bid to train all the workers which starts with the mid- level management personnel.

The BGMEA’s move to launch such a training programme came against the backdrop of the devastating fire incident at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia last month, which claimed at least 112 lives of workers and injured several others.

Global buyers also laid emphasis on training programme for all workers, especially the mid level management personnel, and also owners in a bid to ensure health and fire safety in each and every factory of the apparel industry in an emergency meeting with the apparel leaders last month after the Tazreen incident. read more.

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20121209

* Wal-Mart supplier denies knowing clothes made in Bangladesh factory:

After the Bangladesh factory fire that killed more than 100 workers in November, retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc fired a supplier making clothes at the facility. Now that supplier has come forward to say it was not aware its clothes were stitched there, according to reports.

Success Apparel said in a statement to Bloomberg that it placed an order with Simco, a Wal-Mart-approved supplier, to fulfil orders. Simco then doled out about 7 percent of the order to Tuba Group, owner of the now infamous Tazreen Design factory in Bangladesh, according to Success.

“This factory is not on our matrix and we have never done business with them,” Success said in the statement to Bloomberg. “We have been a trusted supplier to Wal-Mart for over two decades, never had any violations and complied with the highest ethical and safety standards that our company sets forth.”

A workers’ rights group found documents in the remains of the fire that reportedly pointed to at least five suppliers making clothes for Wal-Mart at the factory this year.
read more.  & read more.
  

* Buyers risk brand image by sourcing from rogue factories:

International buyers who source garments from non-compliant factories in Bangladesh run the risk of harming their own brands.

US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne S Verveer shared her thoughts in an interview with The Daily Star on the sidelines of South Asian Women Entrepreneurship Symposium at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel yesterday.
“Buyers who source from factories that exploit workers are the buyers who know that their brands are going to be harmed,” she said.
“But there is not a company that ever wants to have a potential customer say to them [that] ‘I will not buy a shirt from you or anything from you because the source of manufacturing was abusive or the result of exploited labour’.”
read more.
& read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
     

* Ashulia factory fire preplanned: Muhith:

Terming the Ashulia RMG factory fire preplanned, Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Sunday said steps need to be taken right now to check the recurrence of such incidents in the future.

“Investigation into the tragic incident is going on, and steps will be taken after the probe,” he said while talking to reporters after attending a programme here.
Earlier, the minister witnessed a joint drill, aimed at providing treatment for fire victims and facing disasters. Sylhet Fire Service and Civil Defence, Health Directorate and Islamic arranged the drill at Osmani Medical College Hospital.
read more.
++++++++++
20121211

* Bangla fire exposes apathy of global clothing brands:

One lakh people attended the burial ceremony of 53 workers whose bodies could not be identified

The fire alarm shattered the monotony of the Tazreen Fashions factory. Hundreds of seamstresses looked up from their machines, startled. On the third floor, Shima Akhter Pakhi had been stitching hoods onto fleece jackets. Now she ran to a staircase.

But two managers were blocking the way. Ignore the alarm, they ordered. It was just a test.

Back to work. A few women laughed nervously. Pakhi and other workers returned to their sewing tables. She could stitch a hood to a jacket in about 90 seconds. She arranged the fabric under her machine. Ninety seconds. Again. Ninety more seconds. She sewed six pieces, maybe seven. Then she looked up.

Smoke was filtering up through the three staircases. Screams rose from below. The two managers had vanished. Power suddenly went out throughout the eight-story building. There was nowhere to escape. The staircases led down into the fire. Iron grilles blocked the windows. A man cowering in a fifth-floor bathroom called his mother to tell her he was about to die. “We all panicked,” Pakhi said. “It spread so quickly. And there was no electricity. It was totally dark.” read more.

* A rallying cry for fire safety:

The deaths of about 400 workers in two recent fires at Asian garment factories that made clothes for American and European brands should outrage consumers and become a rallying cry for higher safety standards. Just as the 1911 fire at the Triangle shirtwaist factory in New York ushered in a sweeping overhaul of industrial regulations in this country, these tragedies should lead to comprehensive changes in developing countries that have become the biggest suppliers of clothes to the Western world.

Accounts of the fires, in Bangladesh and Pakistan, clearly show that there would have been few, if any, deaths had the factories met basic safety standards. Owners of both factories had barred windows to prevent theft, and neither building had usable or safe fire exits, making it impossible for the workers to escape the flames and smoke. At the Bangladesh factory, Tazreen Fashions, managers initially stopped workers from leaving by dismissing a fire warning as a false alarm.

These fires were the latest in a series of garment factory calamities. The Clean Clothes Campaign, an anti-sweatshop group, estimates that more than 500 workers have died in factory fires in Bangladesh since 2006, not counting the most recent disaster. That country has more than three million workers employed in the clothing industry and is now the world’s second-largest exporter of garments, after China.
read more.

* Tazreen fire an outcome of unplanned expansion, ignorance: Labour Minister:

Labour and Employment Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju on Monday said the devastating fire incident at Tazreen Fashions is a reflection of the unplanned expansion of the readymade garment sector and ignorance among the owners about the compliances.

“We don’t realise our mistakes unless there is an incident. The incident at Tazreen has opened our eyes. There has been ignorance in this concern before it,” he said, inaugurating a crash training programme for mid-level garment employees on fire control, organised by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at is headquarter.

The minister said there has been no planned development of the RMG sector since the very beginning.
Mentioning the sheer ignorance that prevails among most of the owners and workers about the compliances, he said: “We don’t know what needs to be done.”
read more. & read more.
 

* Documents Reveal New Details About Walmart Connection to Tazreen Factory Fire:

Documents uncovered at the Tazreen garment factory in Bangladesh where 112 workers died in a fire two weeks ago indicate that not one but two American apparel makers supplying goods for Walmart were using the factory around the time of the fire.

Two days after the Nov. 24 fire, Walmart said in a statement that it had stopped authorizing production at Tazreen and that despite that move, a single supplier, later identified as Success Apparel, had “subcontracted work to this factory without authorization and in direct violation of our policies.”

The documents — found in the factory by officials from the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity — show that a subcontractor for an additional Walmart supplier, International Intimates, was having women’s robes and nightgowns made at the factory for Walmart’s winter season. The documents show that the factory was also making women’s nightwear for Sears.

The documents contain a June 2012 e-mail from International Intimates’ subcontractor to officials at the Tazreen factory confirming plans to produce a robe and nightgown for Walmart, as well as a robe and pajama set for Sears. The documents also contain a production report from September 13 showing plans to produce 117,000 of these garments for Walmart. read more.

* After fire, Wal-Mart vows to tighten source safeguards:

A factory fire that killed more than 100 garment workers in Bangladesh has led the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, to concede that it needs to do more to control its supply chain and keep unauthorized manufacturers out.

In an interview with Reuters, his first since the November 24 Tazreen Fashions fire, Wal-Mart Vice President of Ethical Sourcing Rajan Kamalanathan said the company’s current controls could only go so far in preventing a factory Wal-Mart did not approve of from making its clothes, as was the case here.

“If a supplier or an agent chooses to subcontract without informing us, then that is a problem,” Kamalanathan said. “We can put all kinds of controls in place, but if they don’t tell us where they’re putting our order, then that is a problem.”

Wal-Mart has said repeatedly that its Faded Glory clothing should not have been in production at the Tazreen factory, a facility Bangladeshi authorities said was not safe for use. The building was not cleared to be used by any party manufacturing garments for the world’s largest retailer. read more.

* 251 left-out Tazreen workers paid:

Two hundred and fifty one left-out Tazreen workers were paid their wages and benefits at the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Monday.
The association also handed over compensation money of Tk one lakh each to 37 workers injured in the tragic blaze at Tazreen Fashions Limited on November 24.
On Saturday, more than 100 workers of fire-devastated Tazreen staged a demonstration in front of BGMEA building demanding unpaid wages and benefits.
They alleged that they were not paid wages and other benefits as their names were not on the list prepared by the factory authorities and the association.
They had, however, postponed the demonstration after the association vice-president SM Mannan Kochi assured them of payment of the wages and benefits by December 11.
As per the assurance, the left-out workers reached the BGMEA building at about 3:00pm on Monday by buses arranged by the association. to read.

* Workplace safety must for Bangladesh to become RMG leader:

Bangladesh needs to ensure workplace safety immediately if it wants to be the world’s biggest readymade garment exporter, analysts said.

Workplace safety has become the biggest challenge for the garment industry in the aftermath of the Tazreen fire that left 112 workers dead.

The garment industry has overcome three major challenges — child labour, elimination of multi-fibre agreement quota and global financial crisis — successfully over the last two decades, said Debapriya Bhattacharya, a distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).
“Workplace safety is now the fourth challenge. It is possibly the biggest challenge the sector has faced to date.”

Bhattacharya said Bangladesh is at a crossroads now: the country needs to decide whether it would entertain conspiracy theories and do nothing, or take the necessary steps to prevent such incidents happening again. read more.

* BGMEA launches fire training for workers:

Safety issues in factories have become a major concern for international garment buyers, said an official of a US retail giant at the launch of a fire training programme for workers in Dhaka yesterday.

Bangladesh is a lucrative destination for international buyers who outsource for renowned global brands, said Jenefa Jabbar, regional social responsibilities director of JC Penney Purchasing Corporation, a garment sourcing company.

Referring to the faulty construction of the Tazreen Fashions building, where more than 110 workers died in a devastating fire last month, Jenefa said every licensing authority should play their due role while giving licences to the factory owners.
read more. & read more. & read more.
   

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20121212

* Burned Bangladesh factory was warned twice on fire safety:

The Bangladeshi factory producing clothes for Wal-Mart Stores Inc before a November fire that killed 112 workers was operating without a safety licence and had been warned twice to improve conditions there, an emergency services official said.

“We refused to renew the licence because there was a lack of fire safety measures,” Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah, director general of the Fire Service and Civil Defence told Reuters in Dhaka on Monday.
“The fire safety certification expired on June 30, but the department did not renew it because fire safety provisions had not been put in place,” he said. He added that in July a reminder had been sent to the management of the factory, which is owned by the garments manufacturer Tuba Group.
An official at Tuba Group declined to comment on the status of the licence at the time of the fire.
Mahbubur Rahman, a Fire Service and Civil Defence inspector who visited the utility, said the factory managers “did not respond to our notices and did not pay heed to our suggestions”. read more.

* Inspectors target Ashulia factories:

Three teams to check around 600 plants by Dec 31

A government agency assigned to ensure labour-law compliance will begin inspections of around 600 garment factories in Ashulia today.

Three teams of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments will list compliant and non-compliant factories in the clothing industrial belt by December 31.
“Two inspectors, including an engineer, will be in each team. More teams will be formed if necessary,” said Md Habibul Islam, chief inspector of factories.

“We will also identify the factories that are yet to get licences from us,” said Islam, adding that the drive may expand across the country in phases.
As per law, inspectors can file cases with the labour court for non-compliance.
read more.

* After fire, Wal-Mart vows to tighten source safeguards:

Vice president of the world’s largest retailer talks about fire safety in Bangladesh

A factory fire that killed more than 100 garment workers in Bangladesh has led the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, to concede that it needs to do more to control its supply chain and keep unauthorised manufacturers out.

In an interview with Reuters, his first since the Nov. 24 Tazreen Fashions fire, Wal-Mart Vice President of Ethical Sourcing Rajan Kamalanathan said the company’s current controls could only go so far in preventing a factory Wal-Mart did not approve of from making its clothes, as was the case here.

“If a supplier or an agent chooses to subcontract without informing us, then that is a problem,” Kamalanathan said. “We can put all kinds of controls in place, but if they don’t tell us where they’re putting our order, then that is a problem.”

Wal-Mart has said repeatedly that its Faded Glory clothing should not have been in production at the Tazreen factory, a facility Bangladeshi authorities said was not safe for use. The building was not cleared to be used by any party manufacturing garments for the world’s largest retailer.

Wal-Mart says that in 2011 alone it audited over 9,000 factories globally to check whether its standards were being met. But still, Wal-Mart acknowledges it only controls its supply chain up to a certain point. If suppliers hired by Wal-Mart in turn hire agents who then line up production, the seemingly tight controls Wal-Mart has put in place can fail.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
     

* all of the above items are more or less a copy of the Reuters article, here.

* Documents link Wal-Mart to gutted firm:

Documents uncovered at the Tazreen garment factory in Bangladesh where 112 workers died in a fire two weeks ago indicate that not one but two U.S. apparel makers supplying goods for Wal-Mart were using the factory around the time of the fire.

Two days after the Nov. 24 fire, Wal-Mart said in a statement that it had stopped authorising production at Tazreen and that despite that move, a single supplier, later identified as Success Apparel, had “subcontracted work to this factory without authorisation and in direct violation of our policies”.

The documents found in the factory by officials from the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity show that a subcontractor for an additional Wal-Mart supplier, International Intimates, was having women’s robes and nightgowns made at the factory for Wal-Mart’s winter season. The documents show that the factory was also making women’s nightwear for Sears.

The documents contain a June 2012 e-mail from International Intimates’ subcontractor to officials at the Tazreen factory confirming plans to produce a robe and nightgown for Wal-Mart as well as a robe and pajama set for Sears. The documents also contain a production report from Sept. 13 showing plans to produce 117,000 of these garments for Wal-Mart.

Another document, dated Nov. 24 the date of the fire shows that Tazreen’s parent company, the Tuba Group, billed the subcontractor, I.T. Apparels, for the “chemise & robe” production. read more.

* US blamed for ‘poor’ factory conditions:

An opinion article in the New York Times has blamed the poor safety conditions in Bangladesh garment factories to high American import duties that forces contractors to “scrimp on labour standards to stay competitive”.

“While American officials have condemned poor safety conditions at the factory and have urged the Bangladeshi government to raise wages and improve working conditions, the United States can do much more: It should bring down high tariffs on imports from Bangladesh and other Asian countries, which put pressure on contractors there to scrimp on labor standards in order to stay competitive,” says the NYT article entitled ” American Tariffs, Bangladeshi Deaths” .

The United States imported more than $4 billion worth of apparel and textiles from Bangladesh last year.

“So it has an interest in giving the country’s garment industry some financial room with which to improve conditions for the three million employees, most of them female, who work in the industry,” the article by .Sanchita B.Saxena argues.
read more.

* Bangladesh fire safety to cost retailers $ 3b:

The global garment industry would have to spend about $3 billion over five years to bring safety standards at Bangladesh apparel factories to Western standards, an analysis by a labor-rights group shows.

The analysis, provided to Bloomberg News by the Worker Rights Consortium, comes after a fire at a factory that made garments for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) killed more than 100 people last month. Upgrading the country’s approximately 4,500 factories would cost the garment industry about 10 cents per garment, the group said.

Since the blaze at the Tazreen Design Ltd. factory on Nov. 24, Western companies have faced increased calls from labor- rights organizations to pay suppliers higher prices so factory owners can afford safety upgrades. The $3 billion figure, or $600 million per year, represents about 3 percent of the $19 billion the Bangladesh Manufacturers & Exporters Association says Western companies spend annually on manufacturing in Bangladesh.

The Worker Rights Consortium estimates are based on discussions with U.S. fire safety experts and on estimates of local construction costs in Bangladesh, said Scott Nova, the Washington-based group’s executive director. Nova said the figures are “high-end estimates” because the group assumed that all factories need improvements that include fire exits and alarms, emergency lighting and training programs. read more.

*  Why Not Boycott Bangladesh? :

Given the horrific fire at the factory in Bangladesh that killed 112 workers last month, why not boycott companies that make their brand name apparel in Bangladesh?

After all, it wasn’t just that factory in Bangladesh.
Most of the factories that make apparel for U.S. universities and outlets are death traps.
So, why not boycott Bangladesh until they clean up their act?

If it were up to Scott Nova, executive director at the Worker Rights Consortium, that’s what we’d do.
“If it were up to us, we would ask universities to require their licensees not to do business in Bangladesh or Pakistan, for that matter,” Nova told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week. “But we have been asked not to do that by the unions in Bangladesh.”

“The unions in Bangladesh are dealing with a situation in which this is the primary source of employment for workers in the country. It is 80 percent of the country’s export earnings.
The unions themselves are under enormous political pressure internally. And they have opposed a boycott. So, as a labor rights organization in the U.S., we feel an obligation to act in a manner consistent with the wishes of people who actually represent workers in Bangladesh. Like other labor rights organizations in the U.S. and Europe, we have not called for companies to boycott Bangladesh.
Although, if it were purely up to us, we would advise universities to prohibit their licensees from doing business in Bangladesh until the situation is addressed.”
read more.
 

Photo: DailyStar

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20121213

* Protests demand Tazreen owner’s arrest:

Rights activists held protests in and outside the BGMEA office on Wednesday demanding the arrest of the Tazreen Fashions Limited owner for his negligence in ensuring fire safety as a fire that broke out in the factory on November 24 had killed at least 112 workers.

The rights activists entered the office of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association about 11:00am and played recorded wailing of the fire victims and their families.
The protesters, in shrouds, teamed up as Justice for Tazreen Workers by Rokeya Bahini demanded Tk 48 lakh in compensation in keeping with
the law for the victims killed in the fire.
The protesters also held a rally in front of the BGMEA building where one of the organisers, Nasrin Shiraj Anny, put forth a set of demands, including an immediate arrest and trial of the factory owner. read more.

* Flash protest at BGMEA for justice for Tazreen workers:

Activists of Rokeya Bahini, a women’s solidarity movement, demonstrate in front of the BGMEA office in Dhaka yesterday for proper compensations for the workers who died in a fire at Tazreen Fashions last month. Photo: STAR

Rights activists yesterday staged a demonstration at the premises of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) demanding arrest of the owner of Tazreen Fashions.

Wearing shrouds and carrying the banner of ‘Justice for Tazreen Workers’, the rights activists from Rokeya Bahini stormed into the BGMEA office and played the recorded wailings of the victims and their relatives.
The demonstrators also held a rally in front of the BGMEA building, where one of the organisers, Nasrin Shiraj Annie, put forth a set of demands, including immediate arrest and trial of the factory’s owner, Delowar Hossain.

Their rationale being that the negligence on the owner’s part in putting adequate fire safety measures in his factory in Ashulia led to the death of 112 workers from the November 24 blaze.
“The workers had not accidentally died, rather they were killed as the factory had no fire exit,” said Annie, adding that the factory’s fire safety certification had expired on June 30.

The demonstrators also demanded compensation of Tk 48 lakh for each person killed in the fire — in accordance with the Fatal Accident Act, 1855.
read more.

* What Wal-Mart’s Supplier Network Missed:

A 2011 inspection conducted for a supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT -2.75% found serious fire-safety concerns at a clothing factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, that burned down last month, killing 112 people, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Yet just weeks before the fire, a majority of the factory’s assembly lines were devoted to production for Wal-Mart, according to documents found by the Journal at the wrecked factory. Sand-colored girls’ shorts bearing Wal-Mart’s Faded Glory label also were found at the charred factory by the Journal.

Wal-Mart declined to comment about fire-safety concerns at the factory, Tazreen Fashions Ltd. A Wal-Mart spokesman said Tazreen was removed from the retailer’s list of authorized factories “months ago” but declined to be more precise or say if the retailer notified its suppliers. Wal-Mart said a supplier sent garments to Tazreen without authorization and that the retailer is investigating if others did.

The factory’s owner, Delwar Hossain, couldn’t be reached for comment about the deauthorization. He has said before that audits carried out for Wal-Mart didn’t raise fire-safety issues at the factory. read more.

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20121214

* fire safety responsibility of government and brands:

IndustriALL calls again on the Bangladeshi government to secure the future of the country’s garment industry by doing more on guaranteeing fire safety and for brands to support this.

 IndustriALL Global Union in collaboration with Bangladeshi trade unions continues to promote the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement that was agreed with PvH in March and Tchibo in September to stop unsafe working conditions in apparel factories and to stop competition between employers and governments at the cost of fire and building safety.

IndustriALL calls upon all brands involved in the Tazreen fire and all brands sourcing from Bangladesh to sign the Bangladeshi Fire and Building Safety agreement as soon as possible. Furthermore IndustriALL supports the Bangladeshi Trade Union Demands on Fire Safety. read more.

* US lawmakers urge Obama’s action in Tazreen fire:

In a letter to Obama, lawmakers say US contractors must ensure worker rights

A group of US lawmakers wrote to President Barack Obama on Wednesday urging action in response to the November 24 fire incident of Tazreen Fashions Ltd that claimed the lives of 112 workers.

The group led by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) also sought Obama’s interference in ensuring that clothing coming into the US – particularly products for their military – is made in factories that protect their workforce.
The letter was signed by US senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Congressman George Miller (D-CA).

The letter reads,” Last month, a fire in the Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Bangladesh killed 112 people. Following the tragedy, it came to light that the workers were ordered to stay at their sewing machines after fire alarms went off, were trapped inside because exit doors were locked, and were unable to fight the fire because fire extinguishers inside the plant did not work.” read more. & read more.

* Latest Garment Factory Fire Shows Apparel Industry Puts Profits Before Workers:

 walmart Sears Nike garment fire fashion fair working conditions fair wage clothing Bangladesh apparel

The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous time for the apparel industry, filled with pictures of happy consumers buying new clothes for themselves and their loved ones.

Yet, somehow, this season seems to be going to opposite direction, filled with pictures from Greenpeace Detox campaignas well as from Pakistan and Bangladesh, where about 400 people died in the last couple of months due to fires in garment factories.

So instead of talking about the $386 that people are expected to spend on gifts this year, from which 51 percent, or $197, goes to clothing, the discussion has shifted to the  $30-$50 garment workers make a month, in return for hard work, long hours and exposure to unsafe working conditions.

The latest tragedies in the garment factories were devastating in particular – not because they spoiled the holidays for retailers and fashion industries, but because they show that with all the progress that we’ve made so far, we’re still up to our neck in exploitative capitalism.
In a way, it reminded me what Aron Cramer, BSR President and CEO, said at the last BSR conference: “As we reflect on the past 20 years, it seems that everything has changed, and nothing has changed.” With all the progress made in the last 20 years after Nike and others were criticized for selling goods produced in sweatshops, it looks like we’re back to square one. read more.

* Khaleda urges workers’ safety:

Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia yesterday urged garment entrepreneurs to ensure safety and better working conditions for workers, saying they are the lifeline to the country’s highest foreign currency earning sector.

“Not the machines, the workers behind the machines are the lifeline to the sector. Justice cannot be ensured without giving importance to their life, safety and better working conditions,” she said.

“Anything founded on injustice cannot be sustainable,” said the chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

The former prime minister spoke at the closing ceremony of the Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition (Batexpo-2012) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city. read more. & read more. & read more.
    

* Walmart tied to Tazreen fire via supply chain: CEO:

The chief executive officer (CEO) of the global retailer, Walmart, Mike Duke said in New York late Tuesday that the company was tied to the disaster at the Tazreen Fashion factory at Ashulia, Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka on November 24 via a complex supply chain.

It said it had cut off a supplier that had sourced clothes for it from the garment factory in Bangladesh where 110 workers were killed by a fire.

Mr. Duke said at the Council for Foreign Relations: “This is complicated, there are multiple steps in a supply chain, there could be a supplier that may be based here in the United States and may be buying from factories, and sometimes there are subcontract factories.” read more. & read more.
 

++++++++++++
20121216/17

* Wal-Mart email reveals strategy to upgrade Bangladesh factories:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc has begun discussions with other retailers that would force suppliers to pay for safety upgrades of overseas factories after a Bangladesh fire killed more than 100 people last month.

Four days after the blaze, Rajan Kamalanathan, Wal-Mart’s vice-president for ethical standards, sent a proposal to members of the Global Social Compliance Programme. The industry group represents more than 30 companies, including Wal-Mart, Carrefour SA and PVH Corp, and says its mission is to improve environmental and working conditions in global supply chains. A person familiar with the document confirmed its authenticity.

Since the blaze at the Tazreen factory on Nov 24, Western companies have faced increased calls from labour- rights organisations to pay suppliers higher prices so factory owners can afford safety upgrades.
The three-page proposal said “fire and electrical safety aspects are not currently adequately covered in sourcing audits,” and outlined steps “to significantly improve fire safety precautions on all fronts.” read more.

* Major retailers seem unwilling to foot the bill for fire safety:

About a year and a half before a fire at a clothing factory in Bangladesh killed 112 people in November, executives from Wal-Mart, Gap and other big retailers met nearby to discuss ways to prevent the unsafe working conditions that have made such tragedies common.

Representatives from a dozen of the world’s largest retailers and fashion labels gathered with labor groups and local officials in April 2011 at the three-day meeting held in the 15-story, glass-walled headquarters of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association in Dhaka, the capital, reports greenbaypressgazette.com.
They were considering a first-of-its-kind contract that would govern fire safety inspections at thousands of Bangladeshi factories making T-shirts, blazers and other clothes Americans covet.
Under the terms of the agreement, each company would be required to publicly report fire hazards at factories, pay factory owners more to make repairs and provide at least $500,000 over two years for the effort. They also would sign a legally binding agreement that would make them liable when there’s a factory fire.

read more.

* Liar, liar, factories on fire:

Is our leading media playing its moral role of comforting the afflicted? Or is it structurally compelled to be in a business of comforting the already comfortable?
The ownerships of our media (both print and satellite) at this point is deeply linked with a fabulously huge business conglomerate of a whole spectrum of merchandise: cell phones, washing machines, mosquito coil, diet Pepsi, fire insurance, spinning mills, Aerosols, rubber plantation, pain killers, beef pepperoni, red & hot BBQ chicken, tube lights, literature fest, and what not. One wouldn’t want to gloom the consumer price index while owning pretty much one quarter of the entire economy. No ‘Badnaam’ is good, as darling DSE index may tumble, writes
Maha Mirza

Nowadays the global media seems to be euphoric about us. Every now and then, The Economist heaps lavish praise for our apparently astonishing economic happenings. Lately, JP Morgan added Bangladesh in its catalogue of ‘Frontier Five’. The McKinsey Report spotted Bangladesh as the next hotspot for global apparel bazaar.
After finished havocking the Greek economy, Goldman Sachs kindly positioned us in its next-eleven brochure. And the World Bank confirmed our eligibility for a sharp 8 per cent growth. Meanwhile, our own leading newspapers have gone ‘gaga’ over the prospect of us being on the directory of the club of new-rich. We obviously continue to hog the headlines for wrong reasons. read more.

* Tazreen fire and some questions:

“My mother has gone to the factory, she has not returned home yet. Where’s my mother? She has not come”, seven-year-old Rumi said as she showed a passport-size photograph of her mother. – The Financial Times, December 03.

How can we compensate this kid’s loss? Is it possible by money? Could we return her mother at any cost? Is it compensable? How long hundreds of kids like Rumi will lose their mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers? How long the innocent people will die, burnt in fire whether in garment factories or in their own houses (like Nimtoli), on the streets or in the water?

“Bangladesh’s worst-ever factory blaze kills over 100″ – Reuters, November 25. “112 people killed in fire at Bangladesh garment factory” – The Washington Times, November 25.

How long will we be headlines in domestic as well as international media?
It is very unfortunate that, when such tragedies happen, all attention is focused on them, from the media to tea stalls. But after that everything continues as before until another accident takes place.

The recent (November 24) fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd factory, which killed 112 workers, is really unfortunate and unacceptable.
But was it accident or killing?
This question arises since the factory had no emergency exits. Why did the three managers locked in the workers during the blaze? Is not the state also responsible since there is no sign of implementing laws on safety standards? Is not the major global brands, including Walmart and Disney, responsible since their apparels were being produced at the factory which did not adopt adequate safety measures?
read more.

* American tariffs, Bangladeshi deaths:

The fire that killed 112 workers at a garment factory in the suburbs of Bangladesh’s capital last month was a stark reminder of the human costs of producing and consuming cheap clothes.

While American officials have condemned poor safety conditions at the factory and have urged the Bangladeshi government to raise wages and improve working conditions, the United States can do much more: It should bring down high tariffs on imports from Bangladesh and other Asian countries, which put pressure on contractors there to scrimp on labor standards in order to stay competitive.

The United States imported more than $4.0 billion worth of apparel and textiles from Bangladesh last year. So it has an interest in giving the country’s garment industry some financial room with which to improve conditions for the three million employees, most of them female, who work in the industry. read more.

* Flame of fire and death of nimble fingers:

Traditionally women in Bangladesh are considered docile, naive, and less capable to work hard, only responsible for reproductive work and best caregiver to all. The traditional image of women in the country coupled with the factor that there were not many employment opportunities for women in the country forced women to continue their traditional role. In the early 1980s things started to brighten up for the women when the garments industry started to operate.

Since the 1980s the Bangladesh garment industry has grown dramatically. Garments have been the main export product in Bangladesh and currently Bangladesh is one of the largest garments exporters in the world.
Readymade garments make up 80 per cent of the country’s $24 billion in annual exports. Currently there are about 4,500 garments factories in Bangladesh employing more than three million people.
What is the most important aspect of this industry is that 85% of the workers in this industry are women and a majority of them are young women between the ages of 18 and 32.

Before the emergence of the garments industry the most common place for economic activity for uneducated and low educated women was to work in the agriculture sector or as domestic worker.
The garments industry opened up a new opportunity to earn a living for the uneducated and the low educated women in the country.
Many women who worked in the agricultural sector and as domestic workers and many women who were not involved in any income generating activities joined the garments industry.

Many migrated to the urban areas from rural areas to join this industry. Not just from the lower class but also many women from the middle class family joined this industry. This industry increased the percentage of women involved in the labour force dramatically.
Many of the women who joined the garments industry are the main income source of their respective families. Many of the women are the main earning source of their respective families.
Although, due to being a male dominating society, they do not get any recognition for their contribution to the family, many of them are actually the breadwinners of their families. Some joined to support their parents, some joined to support their siblings while some joined to support their own children.
They leave their families behind back in the villages and travel all the way to the urban areas for a dream of better life for themselves and their family members.
read more.

* Wake-up call for big clothing brands:

Until western consumers make safety standards an issue for big apparel retailers, factory fires will continue to take lives


The burnt-out factory of Tazreen Fashions is pictured, where a fatal fire took the lives of 112 workers on November 24. Photo: Sk Enamul Huq

The fire that killed 112 workers in a factory producing for Walmart, Sears, Disney and other apparel corporations was the deadliest in the history of Bangladesh, but it was one in a long series of such fires and it will not be the last. The economic logic of the apparel industry, driven by the insatiable hunger of western apparel companies for cheap clothes, guarantees that many more workers will die.

In the last two years, fires in Bangladesh and Pakistan have taken the lives of nearly 500 apparel workers, at plants producing for Gap, H&M, JC Penney, Target, Abercrombie & Fitch, the German retailer KiK and many others.

These deaths are preventable. In the wake of the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist fire, which killed 146 workers in Manhattan in 1911, a labour reform movement transformed the sweatshop-dominated US apparel industry into one defined by safe workplaces, middle-class wages and strong unions. The industry has known for more than 100 years how to operate an apparel factory safely, yet today these lessons are routinely ignored.

The key to understanding why apparel workers’ lives are treated so cavalierly today is to ask why corporations are flocking to countries like Bangladesh in the first place. Bangladesh is now the world’s second-largest apparel producer. It did not attain that status by achieving high levels of productivity, or a strong transportation infrastructure; it got there by being the rock-bottom cheapest place to make clothing.
read more.

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20121218

* Tazreen fire was sabotage: Probe:

A government probe into a fire in Tazreen Fashions Ltd which killed more than 100 workers last month has found the blaze was an act of sabotage.

“It was an act of sabotage,” Main Uddin Khandaker, head of the probe committee, told The Daily Star over telephone Monday evening.
Khandaker, however, did not say who might have carried out the sabotage and why.
The finding came about three weeks after the deadly fire at the export-oriented factory in the city’s suburb of Ashulia burnt 112 people, mostly workers, to death on November 24.
read more. & read more.& read more.& read more. & read more.
 

* Probe report for owner’s punishment:

The investigation committee formed by the home ministry made five final and 16 general recommendations, including punishment of Tazreen’s owner Delwar Hossain.

Convener of the investigation committee Mainuddin Khandaker Monday submitted the probe report to the home ministry.
Mainuddin Khandaker told banglanews: ”The investigation has found that the fire was a subversive act. So, we have recommended punishment of the owner under section 304 (Ka).”

The report also suggested punishment of the medium level officers of Tazreen Fashions Ltd for their negligence.
In the third final recommendation, the probe body made suggestion for taking necessary action under Labour Act though visiting the garment factories.
read more.

* A cheap T-shirt or a human life? :

US companies, as well as consumers, must do more to ensure that overseas workers are not abused

A factory fire last month in which 112 Bangladeshi garment workers died raised questions not only about how a manufacturer with a poor safety record was allowed to continue its dangerous ways, but also about the responsibility of American companies to the workers they rely on around the globe.

At the time of the fire, Tazreen Fashions Ltd. was manufacturing clothes for well-known brands and retailers in the United States, including Disney, Sears, Wal-Mart and Enyce, as well as a licensee of the US Marine Corps.
There were no emergency exits at the factory, and employees alleged not only that fire extinguishers were inoperable but that bosses shut the main exit when the alarms sounded, ordering everyone back to work.
Disney, Sears and Wal-Mart have said that Tazreen was not authorised to be making their products, yet somehow it was. Wal-Mart said it had ended its relationship with the factory before the fire but that a supplier subcontracted with Tazreen without Wal-Mart’s knowledge or permission. read more.

* BGMEA forms taskforce :

BGMEA-the country’s apex body for apparel– formed a high-powered taskforce Monday in a bid to ensure occupational fire safety in all the apparel units across the country.

The taskforce after assessment will recommend short, medium and long term preventive measures to ensure safety in garment factories.
The BGMEA’s move to form such taskforce came against the backdrop of the devastating fire incident at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia last month, which claimed at least 112 lives of workers and injured several others.
Earlier on November 30, BGMEA in an emergency meeting with foreign buyers announced that it would form the taskforce within a week. read more.

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20121219

* Sabotage, really? Rights activists, worker leaders reject govt probe findings:

Rights activists and worker leaders yesterday rejected the sabotage theory of a government probe committee on the Tazreen fire and term its report incomplete and contradictory.

They demanded a fair probe by an independent body so that culprits do not go scot-free like what happened in the past.
The four-member probe team, headed by Additional Secretary Main Uddin Khandaker, submitted a 214-page report to the home ministry Monday evening.

The report, which made five final recommendations, came out about three weeks after the deadly blaze killed 112 people, mostly workers, at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia on November 24.
The committee said the incident was an act of sabotage and further probe was needed to find the motives and masterminds.

Sultana Kamal, executive director of rights body Ain o Shalish Kendra (ASK), questioned the report as it completely failed to dig out who did the sabotage, how and why. read more.

* Bangladesh Finds Gross Negligence in Factory Fire:

Criminal charges for “unpardonable negligence” should be brought against the owner of the Bangladesh garment factory where a fire killed 112 people last month, according to a preliminary report from a government inquiry submitted Monday.

“The owner of the factory cannot be indemnified from the death of large numbers of workers from this fire,” Main Uddin Khandaker, the official who led the inquiry, said in an interview. “Unpardonable negligence of the owner is responsible for the death of workers.”

The Nov. 24 fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory, where workers were making clothes for global retailers like Walmart and Sears, has focused attention on the unsafe work conditions and low wages at many garment factories in Bangladesh, the No. 2 exporter of apparel after China. The fire also has exposed flaws in the system that monitors the industry’s global supply chain: Walmart and Sears say they had no idea their apparel was being made there.

Mr. Khandaker submitted a 214-page report to Bangladesh’s Home Ministry on Monday, blaming the factory owner, Delowar Hossain, for negligence and saying that nine of his midlevel managers and supervisors prevented employees from leaving their sewing machines even after a fire alarm sounded.

Mr. Hossain could not be reached for comment.
The report also stated that the fire was “an act of sabotage,” but it did not provide any evidence. read more. & read more.
 

* Bangladesh garment industry demands action on deadly fire report:

Officials in Bangladesh’s ready made garment industry demanded on Tuesday quick implementation of recommendations in a report which concluded that last month’s deadly fire at a textile factory was the result of both sabotage and negligence.

The investigators, who presented their report to the Home Ministry on Monday, did not single out any individual in connection with sabotage in the November 24 blaze at the Tazreen Fashion Factory in which 112 workers were killed.

But they called for legal action to be taken against the factory owner, identified as Delwar Hossein, and nine mid-level managers. Managers, the investigators said, had neglected fundamental safety precautions and failed to obtain a fire certificate.

“We demand the recommendations be implemented, meaning the owner and other culprits must be arrested and brought to book,” said Amirul Huque Amin, president of the National Garment Workers Federation. read more.

* Taskforce formed to ensure fire compliance in apparel factories:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) Monday formed a 15-member taskforce to inspect and ensure the occupational health and fire safety issues in all the apparel units across the country.

Headed by BGMEA president Shahiul Islam, the task force is comprised of technical experts like architects, electrical and structural engineers, fire fighters and representatives from relevant agencies, namely, Fire Service and Civil Defense, Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh, Ministry of Labour and Manpower and BGMEA.
The team will start working on Sunday from Ashulia and visit every factory to raise fire awareness among the factory owners and workers.

They will inspect the present condition of the factories, building structures and their layouts, working environment, fire safety measures, storehouses, staircases, exit system and related matters.
After completion of the assessment, the taskforce will recommend short, medium and long term preventive measures to ensure safety compliances in the apparel industry. read more.

* Garments workers` rally in capital Dec 28 :

The Bangladesh Garments Sramik Trade Union Kendra (BGSTUK) will stage a rally in front of National Press Club in the capital and take out a procession from there on Dec 28 to press for its 10-point-demand including arrest of Tazreen Fashions owner and ensuring safety of life of workers at garments factories and their security.

The announcement came at press conference, held in Pragati Conference Hall at Mukti Bhaban at the city`s Purana Paltan on Tuesday afternoon.

Addressing the journalists the leaders of BGSTUK also said that on Dec 27, they will bring out a procession carrying black flags commemorating those killed in Tazreen Fashions fire on Nov 24 at Ashulia and other ready-made garments factory fire victims. A human chain will also be organised in the city on that day.

Besides, posters and leaflets, containing their demands, will be distributed among the city dwellers before observance of the two programmes on Dec 27 and 28, the BGSTUK leaders announced. read more.

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20121221

* BGMEA again fails to present Tazreen fire probe report:

Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Thursday failed to present its probe report for the second time on the devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions factory which on November 24 claimed the lives of 112 workers and left many more injured.

A five-member committee appointed by BGMEA to probe the fire failed to submit its report for the second time in 19 days.
Without mentioning a fresh date, committee convener SM Mannan Kochi said that the investigation was at its final stage and the report would be presented in one week.
On November 26, BGMEA appointed the committee to probe into the factory fire at Ashulia asking it to submit its report on December 2.
The deadline was extended to December 20 as the committee failed to present its report for what its chief said that it was unable to work for two days due to workers’ agitations at Ashulia. read more.
BD new age

* Delay in publishing Tazreen fire probe report draws workers’ ire:

The BGMEA team is taking a lot of time in making public its probe report on Tazreen Fashions fire incident citing the recent hartals and other agitations, that has triggered strong criticism from workers’ leaders.

“Due to the recent hartals, the probe team needs a few more days to complete its report,” second vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Siddiqur Rahman said, adding the report was expected to be ready by December 29.

The BGMEA formed a five-member committee headed by its vice president SM Mannan Kochi against the backdrop of the fire incident that took place on November 24 and said it would submit its report within a week.
The devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia claimed at least 112 lives of workers and injured several others.

“The BGMEA is taking too much time to make public its probe report only to save the factory’s owner. There is no doubt that the industrial blaze was caused by negligence of the factory owner when it comes to safety issues,” president of Bangladesh Garment Workers’ Unity Forum Moshrefa Mishu said. read more.
FE bd

* US Lawmakers Press For Trade Response To Bangladesh Factory Fire:

A dozen US lawmakers pressed President Barack Obama’s administration on Thursday to complete a long-running review that could lead to suspension of trade benefits for Bangladesh after a deadly factory blaze there last month.

“We are seriously concerned about the deterioration of working conditions and worker rights in Bangladesh,” the congressional Democrats said in a letter to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

“The latest apparel industry fire, with over 100 workers killed, in the Tazreen garment factory is the latest in a series of events and practices constituting this decline,” the lawmakers said. read more.
jak-globe

* Global unions call for measures after Tazreen fire:

Three powerful global union organisations, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), UNI Global Union and IndustriALL Global Union are demanding that Walmart act to prevent deadly working conditions.

This call comes following the recent tragic fire at Tazreen Fashions in Bangladesh, which produced Faded Glory brand clothing.
The global unions are asking Walmart to provide fair redress for the victims, to support a full and transparent investigation,  and to adopt meaningful measures to prevent future incidents.
They want a timely public announcement of these measures.

The announcement comes as several shipments of clothing bound for Walmart from the Tazreen factory are due to arrive on the US East Coast.
“Terrible and preventable accidents like the Tazreen fire are the responsibility of the big companies who create the supply chain.
Unions involved along the chain – whether in manufacture, transport or retail, are joining together to call for safety and justice for workers like the Tazreen victims” said ITF acting general secretary Stephen Cotton. “As global unions we speak with one voice – and we are determined to effect change and stamp out unnecessary tragedies like this” he added. read more.
INDUSRIall

* Demand justice for the victims of the Tazreen fire:

20121220 CCC uatazreen

On the 24th November, at least 112 workers died in the fire at Tazreen Fashions, a garment factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many of the workers jumped to their deaths trying to escape from the nine story building. Others, unable to escape the blaze, were burned alive. Tazreen produced for a host of well known brand names, including C&A, KIK, Walmart, Li & Fung, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Disney, Dickies, Sean Comb (ENYCE) and Kmart/Sears.

First reports suggest the fire was started by an electrical short circuit. The cause of over 80% of all factory fires in Bangladesh are due to faulty wiring. The fire in Tazreen Fashions brings the total of workers that have died in unsafe factories in Bangladesh since 2005 to around 700.

Accounts of the different fires clearly show that many of these tragic deaths could have been prevented  had the  factories met basic safety standards. The windows of the Tazreen factory were barred to prevent theft, and safe fire exits were mostly absent, making it impossible for the workers to escape the flames and smoke. At the time of the fires the managers initially stopped workers from leaving by dismissing a fire warning as a false alarm.

Call upon C&A, KIK, Walmart, Li & Fung, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Disney, Dickies, Sean Comb (ENYCE) and Kmart/Sears to take up responsibility!

The Clean Clothes Campaign along with trade unions and labour rights organisations in Bangladesh and around the world call upon the buyer companies to:

  1. Ensure full compensation to the victims,
  2. Support a full and transparent investigation into the fires,
  3. Sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement.

Read more & Please Sign : Here.
CCC

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20121223

* Garment Workers Red Flag Procession related to Tarzeen Fashion Fire:

20121222 SCOOP
Garment workers red-flag procession held to ensure punishment to culprits, including factory owner, of Tazreen Fashion firing after bringing them under law as per Home Ministry enquiry report, correct list of dead & injured workers, necessary medical treatment, compensation as per loss of earning and “safe workplace”.

None of the culprits, including factory owner, who were responsible for the Tazreen Fashion fire that killed 112 workers on November 24, 2012 were not yet arrested & brought to book although the Home Ministry enquiry report blamed them for the incident and recommended to punish them as per law.

On the other hand, correct list of dead & injured workers were not prepared, engineering were being seen in payment of compensation and move were on to shelve the whole tragedy.
So, Garment workers red-flag rally & procession held demanding punishment to culprits, including factory owner, of Tazreen Fashion firing after bringing them under law as per Home Ministry enquiry report, correct list of dead & wounded workers, necessary medical treatment, compensation as per loss of earning and “safe workplace”.

Organized by National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka city at 11am today—December 21 Friday.
Presided over by NGWF President Amirul Haque Amin, the rally was addressed by General Secretary Ms Safia Parveen, Ms Sultana Akter and Md Kabir Hossain. Coordinator of Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council Md Delwar Hossain spoke at the rally expressing solidarity with the workers.
Speakers at the rally alleged that none among the culprits, against whom the Home Ministry enquiry report recommended punishment as per 304 (a) of the Bangladesh Penal Code, were arrested & brought to book. read more.
ASIANlabourUPDATE

* Arrest of Tazreen owner demanded:

Politicians and garment labour leaders at a rally in the capital Dhaka on Friday demanded an immediate arrest of the Tazreen Fashions Ltd owner Delwar Hossain in connection with the killing of 112 workers of the factory in a fire on November 24.

The Workers Party of Bangladesh general secretary, Anisur Rahman Mallick, said that the recent report of the home ministry investigation of the incident suggested legal action against the owner and others for their negligence in ensuring safety of the workers. But the government has not taken action against them.
The National Garment Workers Federation organised the rally in front of the National Press Club demanding action against the people responsible for the incident and more compensation for fire victims. read more.
BD new age

* 1800 RMG units lag behind fire-safety standard:

Around 1200 ready-made garments (RMG) units are having well-equipped safety measures in place to deal with any fire incident out of a total of 4000 running garment factories at the moment, sources said on Friday.
“These factories (1200) have adequate fire fighting equipments and fire exits, trained manpower and proper fire-safety infrastructures within them,” Md Gias Uddin, Chief Of Fire-Safety Cell of BGMEA, the apex trade body of garments manufacturers told The New Nation.
The rest of 1800 RMG units are lagging behind to meet all the fire safety standards. They have not installed adequate fire-safety equipments and develop infrastructure to smoothly handle fire-related incidents.
“They have fire apparatus or extinguishers, but not in adequate number. Moreover, their fire safety measures are not up to the mark,” Gias noted.
He also said BGMEA as the apex trade body of the apparel sector, often arrange fire drills to RMG factories and conduct awareness programmes to give basic knowledge about fire safety among the RMG workers and management staff.
read more. & read more.
NewNation FE bd

* RMG Fire Safety: BGMEA taskforce starts work Sunday:

The BGMEA taskforce formed to identify the causes behind frequent fire incidents in the readymade garment industry and make recommendations to resolve the problem starts its work on Sunday.
President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin was made the convener of the taskforce.
Representatives from Buet (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology) Alumni Association and Fire Service and Civil Defensce are also included in the taskforce. read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB  BSS  daily star bd FE bd

* Factories set up violating rules:

Hundreds of industrial units, including the fire-struck Tazreen garments factory, have been constructed in the rural areas of Ashulia violating building code and the capital’s master plan, according to officials and documents.

The Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan (DMDP), also known as the master plan, covers up to the Dhaleshwari River in the region, Ashulia and beyond. The plan does not permit factories in the “so-called” Ashulia industrial district, including Nischintapur, Narasinghapur, Jamgora and Jirabo areas on the capital’s outskirts, said Rajuk officials.

These areas, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk), were designated for homesteads and croplands, not industries, said Rajuk board member Sheikh Abdul Mannan. read more. & read more.& read more.
daily star bd  newstodayBD   FE bd

* Flammable Material: How Garment Workers Can Respond to the Tazreen
Factory Fire:

In a fashion industry where trends change by the minute, the lives of the workers who make the clothes are often valued as cheaply as the products they create. The devastating fire at the Tazreen factory in Bangladesh, which killed more than 110 people, is tied to what labor advocates describe as a powder keg: the manufacturing system in the Global South, where countless factories are one spark away from catastrophe.

A new report on factory safety by the International Labor Rights Forum documents the story of one teenager who survived a deadly fire in 2006, which left dozens of workers to burn in a sealed death trap:

I think that they used to lock the doors all the time because most of the workers were my age, and they thought that we might leave the factory any time, as we were kids. That is why they always locked the main door.

Of course, it would be children who lacked the discipline to stay put, whose natural impulse to resist restraint required the industry to literally lock them in.

Today, the charred Tazreen factory represents the extreme end of a long continuum of anti-worker oppression and violence, beginning with multinational brands that build their profit model on cheap overseas labor, to the brutalization of workers who dare stand up for their rights on the job. read more.
INTHESETIMES

* Factory fires bedevil garment industry:

The gruesome fire that killed 112 garment workers in Bangladesh last month underscored a stubborn problem that has dogged retailers for years.

Bangladesh’s garment industry makes clothes cheap for companies like Target, Wal-Mart and the Gap, but the work is too often deadly.
An estimated 600 garment workers in the country have died in fires since 2005, the International Labor Rights Forum says. The persistent safety lapses have fixed a spotlight on U.S. retailers, prompting criticism from labor groups that say companies don’t do enough to protect the people who make the clothes they sell.

“Workers’ lives are on the line while they’re making clothing for export to the U.S. market,” said Liana Foxvog, spokeswoman for the labor rights group.
Stores that sell clothes in the United States are on the end of a supply chain that starts with cheap labor at cheap factories in South Asia. Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is no exception.

The Nov. 25 fire happened at a factory called Tazreen Fashions, whose parent company was a Target supplier until 2008. Tragedy struck the Minneapolis company’s supply chain directly two years ago when a December 2010 fire killed 29 at a factory that supplied clothes to Target, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Abercrombie & Fitch. read more.
STATRIBUNE

* US sanctions loom after Bangladesh factory fire:

A dozen US lawmakers pressed President Barack Obama’s administration on Friday to complete a long-running review that could lead to suspension of trade benefits for Bangladesh, after a deadly factory blaze there last month.

“We’re seriously concerned about the deterioration of working conditions and worker rights in Bangladesh,” the congressional Democrats said, in a letter to US trade representative Ron Kirk, reports TVNZ, national broadcaster New Zealand.

“The latest apparel-industry fire, with over 100 workers killed, in the Tazreen garment factory is the latest in a series of events and practices constituting this decline,” the lawmakers said. read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB  INDEPENDENT  FE bd

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20121225

* Tazreen fire survivors in deep penury:

Many survivors of the Tazreen Fashions blaze, who witnessed their colleagues dying being trapped in the inferno, and were injured while escaping the fire, are yet to get compensation and treatment costs a month after the tragedy.

Garment workers who lost their jobs after the fire are passing days in extreme misery.
Workers while talking to New Age said they were collecting daily essentials on credit from local shops, they could not pay house rents, could hardly take necessary treatment for their injuries as they did not have any income.
The deadly blaze at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Nischintapur of Ashulia, on the night of November 24 killed at least 112 workers and injured at least 200. Of them 100 were grievously injured.

After the fire, the BGMEA had declared that each injured worker of Tazreen Fashions Ltd would get Tk 1 lakh as compensation and treatment at the cost of the association.

‘We have not received any money as compensation from anyone so far,’ said Hena who worked as the swing helper at Tazreen Fashions. Hena along with some other workers had jumped out of the third floor of the factory building breaking open the windows to escape the blaze on the fateful night. read more.
BD new age

* DNA profiling of Tazreen Victims:

Lab contradicts BGMEA claims

The apparel exporters association and the DNA Profiling Laboratory issued contradictory statements over the DNA profiling of workers who were buried unidentified after their deaths in the fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited.

An official of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association claimed that the 39 samples had primarily matched the unidentified workers. But the DNA Profiling Laboratory dismissed the claims  saying that they were yet to complete the profiling.
Of the total 112 workers killed in the November 24 blaze, 53 bodies were buried unidentified at Jurain graveyard. The government decided to conduct DNA tests to determine the identities of the workers.
On November 26, a team of Criminal Investigation Department along with forensic doctors took samples from unidentified bodies.
‘It is a very difficult task…Hopefully we will reach a stage by the middle of the next month,’ Professor Sharif Akhteruzzaman, national technical adviser of the DNA Profiling Laboratory told New Age on Saturday. read more.
BD new age

 * Can mobile phones improve factory fire safety? :

In the wake of the fire at a Bangladesh factory that killed at least 112 garment workers on November 24, US and European retailers who buy from the South Asian country have said they will drastically improve safety checks at the factories they use.

The plans in the works include carrying out extensive fire assessments at vendor factories, in the case of one retailer, and hiring an engineer to check fire safety, in the case of another.

But few of the plans being considered by retailers seem likely to address issues that labour groups have raised with regard to the present safety audit system that they don’t allow workers a way to alert retailers to issues that crop up when the brands’ representatives are not around. Another complaint is that information on fire safety is generally kept confidential and rarely shared in a comprehensive way with the workers most likely to be at risk.

Indian-American entrepreneur Kohl Gill is hopeful that cellphones, which are now widespread in exporting countries like Bangladesh and China, could help.
Through his two-year-old company LaborVoices, Gill has been developing a voice-activated system that workers can call to leave messages about workplace conditions.
“We anonymise that and we provide views on that information to other workers and to local organisations and to brands,” he said. “Eventually we’ll provide views to consumers as well so consumers can know how brands are being made.”
read more.
daily star bd

* Actions awaits probe review on Tazreen fire: Alamgir:

Home Minister Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir today said the review of investigation findings are underway into the last month’s deadliest ever garment factory fire that killed 111 people while a high-powered government investigation committee called the inferno a case of arson.

“We have got the government committee report and is now  reviewing it . . . actions will be followed soon after the review  of all the findings is completed,” home minister Dr Mohiuddin  Khan Alamgir told BSS.

State minister for home Advocate Shamsul Haque Tuku said,  “We will also check all evidence into the fire,” alongside the  official documents and the role of the Tazreen Fashions factory  management in ensuring the safety.

Officials familiar with the investigation process said after  the submission of a report by a high-powered government committee  earlier this week, the authorities now awaited the fire service  investigations into the details of the blaze at the ahead of
taking the next course of action.

The government committee chief Main Uddin Khandker meanwhile  told BSS that their investigation came out with the finding that  the unit at the suburban Ashulia on November 24 was set alight in  a deliberate manner.

“It appeared a case of arson . . . it was a sabotage while  the victims were forced to stay inside to be burnt to death,”  home ministry additional secretary Main Uddin Khandker said. read more.
BSS

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20121231
* Tazreen Fashions fire planned: BGMEA probe report:

The inferno that claimed 112 lives at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia on the outskirts of capital Dhaka on November 24 was a ‘planned’ one, a BGMEA probe revealed on Monday.

“After reviewing the overall matters, it has become clear that there were some implanted persons inside the factory and they might have an ill-motive behind the fire,” said the report.

President of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin unveiled the report at a press conference at the BGMEA Bhaban in the city.

The BGMEA probe report also recommended actions against the culprits.

It suggested interrogating four cutting loaders, security in-charge Anis, security guards Al Amin and Rana, boiler operator Nuruddin, loader Mofizul Islam and loader leader Anwar of the garment factory by the Criminal Investigation Department.
read more.
UNB

* Tazreen fire preplanned: BGMEA probe:

The deadliest industrial fire in the country that killed 111 workers in Tazreen garments factory on November 24 was preplanned, said a probe report by the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

“Some factory officials had ‘ill-motive’ and they are responsible for the fire,” said Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of BGMEA.
The association accused several factory officials of being involved in the ‘scheme’ and recommended the culprits are tried.
BGMEA unveiled the report at a press conference in the city.
to read. & read more. & read more.& read more.
daily star bd  INDEPENDENT  bdnews24 UNB

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20130101

* Tazreen fire pre-planned:

The November 24 fire at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia — the deadliest the country has ever witnessed — was preplanned, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said in a probe report yesterday.

A 11-member team headed by Vice-president SM Mannan Kochi had found that several factory officials were involved in the blaze that killed 112 workers, said BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin at his office in the capital.

“We want to know why they did it.”

The facts of the inferno hinted at such “ill motive”. The team appointed on November 26 spoke to a number of witnesses and injured workers and visited the multi-storey factory building many times before coming to the conclusion, Shafiul said.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd BD new age  BSS  INDEPENDENT FE bd

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20130105

* Frustration grips families of missing workers:

Families of the missing victims of the deadly Tazreen Fashions fire are passing their days in extreme hardship and uncertainty as  the government or the BGMEA did not come forward to help them.

In view of this uncertainty, the victims’ families are in utter frustration and planning to go for movement.
Narrating their plight at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity on Friday, the family members expressed disappointment about the processes of giving compensation as well as identification of the victims by the DNA tests.

They demanded Tk 10 lakh as compensation for each missing worker by January 10 and immediate arrest of the factory owner.
Family members of 46 fire victims were present at the press conference. They said no factories at Ashulia would operate if they were not given the compensation by January 10.     read more.
BD new age

* Arrest, punishment of owner demanded:

Politicians and garment labour leaders on Friday demanded immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of Tazreen Fashion Limited’s owner Delwar Hossain on charge of the killing of more than 100 workers of the factory in a fire on November 24.

The demand came from two different rallies held in front of the National Press Club–one by National Garment Workers’ Federation at 11am and the second by Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre at 4pm.
Speaking at the afternoon rally, GWTUC president Mantu Ghosh said Delwar Hossain could not shrug off the responsibility of the killing as he had failed to ensure the workers’ safety.
He called on the government to ensure trade union rights in garment factories and also safety of the workers in their workplaces. read more. & read more.
BD new age

* CID now probes Tazreen Garments fire:

Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has started probing Tazreen Garments Factory fire at Ashulia on the outskirts of the city that killed 111 people.

CID Chief, Additional Inspector General of Police Mukhlesur Rahman along with investigation officer ASP ATM Mansur and some other officials visited the place of occurrence this morning.
“We have already initiated investigation into the matter after visiting the place of occurrence this morning,” Deputy Inspector General of CID Saiful Alam told BSS today.

He said that they are mainly focusing on some matters in carrying out the probe, especially on how the fire originated.
Before the case was transferred to the CID on Thursday last Ashulia police was looking into the incident.

Officials familiar with the investigation process said after the submission of a report by a high-powered government committee, the authorities now waiting for the fire service investigations into the details of the blaze before taking next course of action.
read more. & read more.
BSS BD new age

* Garment workers’ symbolic hunger strike held:

Demands: immediate arrest & trial of Tazreen Fashion’s owner & other culprits of factory fire, payment of wages-allowances & compensation to 15,000 workers of Hallmark Group, placing and passing in Parliament the amendment to Labour welfare foundation act and Labour law, establishing ‘safe workplace’ in garment sector and implementation of free trade union rights.

Several hundred Garment workers observed symbolic hunger strike today, January 4, 2013 demanding immediate arrest & trial of Tazreen Fashion’s owner & other culprits for responsibility in killing of 112 workers in factory fire, payment of wages-allowances & compensation to 15,000 workers of Hallmark Group, placing and passing in Parliament the amendment to Labour welfare foundation act and Labour law, establishing ‘safe workplace’ in garment sector and implementation of free trade union rights.

Organized by National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF), the symbolic hunger strike was held in front of National Press Club in Dhaka city from 11:00am to 12:00 noon. NGWF President Amirul Haque Amin presided over the program was addressed by General Secretary Ms Safia Parveen, central leader Md Faruk Khan & Ms Sultana Akter. General Secretary of Workers Party of Bangladesh Comrade Anisur Rahman Mallick, Coordinator of SKOP Dr Wazedul Islam Khan, former General Secretary of Jatiya Sramik League & Chairman of BNC Babu Roy Romesh, Babul Akter, Md Rafiq, Jahanara Begum and Mohammad Ali addressed the program expressing solidarity with the hunger strikers. read more.
ASIANlabourUPDATE

* JS panel advises action against Tazreen owner:

A parliamentary panel on Sunday recommended legal action against the owner of Tazreen Fashions Ltd for the death of at least 112 workers killed in a fire at the factory on November 24.

The standing committee on the labour and employment ministry at its 27th meeting also denounced the report the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association prepared and observed that the report had been prepared to let the owners off the hook in the death of the workers.

The committee also asked the ministry to ensure re-employment of Tazreen Fashions workers who were yet to get any job after the fire.
The committee chair, Israfil Alam, after the meeting said, ‘No action has been taken against the factory owner even so many after the incident. He has been prosecuted under the Code of Criminal Procedure and labour laws but he is roaming about freely. He can be arrested under both the laws. We have recommended action against him.’

Israfil also denounced the inquiry by the owners’ association and the report that is one-sided. ‘The association has prepared the report to save the owner. When the government is investigating the fire, there is no need for another inquiry.’
A number of committee members resented workers not being paid their dues despite assurances from the government and the owners.
The ministry officials told the committee that most of the workers had been paid their dues the remaining workers would get paid soon.
They also claimed that moves for the re-employment of the unemployed Tazreen workers were also on. read more.
BD new age

+++++

20130108

* JS body trashes BGMEA probe:

Says report aimed to protect factory owner

The parliamentary watchdog on labour yesterday rejected a probe by the garment industry lobby group on the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions, saying it was biased and intended to protect the factory owner.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in the probe report says the fire on November 24 last year– the deadliest the country has ever witnessed — was pre-planned.

“The report is a manifestation of their nonsensical and irresponsible nature,” said Israfil Alam, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on labour and employment ministry, at a programme at CIRDAP auditorium in the capital.
read more.
daily star bd

* `BGMEA trying to save Tazreen owner`:

The parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Labour and Employment rejected on Monday the probe report by the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) into the Tazreen Fashions Limited fire.

Chairman Israfil Alam alleged the probe report was prepared “arbitrarily”.

The worst case of factory fire occurred at the Tazreen factory on Nov 24 in the Ashulia industrial belt on the outskirts of Dhaka, killing 111 of the workers. Since the fire, the workers’ platforms had been holding the factory owner responsible and dubbing the deaths as ‘murders’.

Fires at readymade garments factories have become common in Bangladesh which is often blamed on lax security measures, overcrowded working place and poor electrical wiring.

In its probe report, published on Dec 31, the apparel owners’ lobby said the fire was ‘planned’ and added officials from the factory might have been involved with it.
(…)
The parliamentary panel chief said the BGMEA’s promise to compensate the families of the injured and deceased workers was not being fulfilled.
read more. & read more.
bdnews24    FE bd

* Big cos fail to ensure safe factories in BD:

It would take “big brand companies less than US cent 10 per garment to ensure safe factories in Bangladesh”. But this cannot be done so as long as companies continue to relentlessly haggle for lower prices from the suppliers, often to the detriment of their workers.

This was stated by Scott Nova of the Worker’s Rights Consortium, according to a website report.
Of course, consumers in the West want their goods to be as cheap as possible, so corporations have an incentive to continue pressing for cheaper production, the report added.
An investigation into the cause of the fire at a garment factory — Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia, Savar, near Dhaka — that killed at least 111 people and sparked global outrage amid calls for enforcement of higher international labour standards, later identified multiple safety violations such as locked exits and the absence of fire escapes at the site, the report pointed out. read more.
FE bd

++++++

20130109

* HC asks for govt inspection report on fire safety:

The High Court on Tuesday directed the authorities concerned to submit to it within six weeks the government’s inspection report on the fire safety arrangements after and before the deadly fire in November at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia.

The devastating fire that swept through the nine-storey apparel factory at Nischintapur in the suburbs of Dhaka on the night of November 24 killed as many as 112 garment workers, mostly women, and inured scores of others.
The bench of Justice Hasan Foez Siddique and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain also asked the authorities to submit to the court within two weeks all the documents, including the licence the government had issued to Tazreen Fashions Ltd for garment production.

The court also asked the owner and the management of Tazreen Fashions Ltd to explain in two weeks why they would not be directed to compensate the families of the workers killed in the fire as well as the injured.
The court also asked the government to explain in two weeks why it should not be directed to take action against Tazreen’s owner and management for negligence of responsibility in relation to fire safety and security of the workers.
read more. & read more
BD new age            daily star bd

* Is Walmart partly to blame for Tazreen fire:

On November 24, 2012, a fire at a garment factory that killed at least 111 people in Dhaka, Bangladesh, sparked global outrage and calls for higher international labor standards.

The incident at Tazreen Fashions was not unique; several conflagrations at other garment factories in the country broke out after the tragedy. In fact, it is part of a long line of similar accidents in a country where 80% of its $24 billion in annual exports is dependent on manufacturing.
Soon after, an investigation into the cause of the fire was conducted, and multiple safety violations such as locked exits and the absence of fire escapes were identified. Clothes were also found that had been labeled for major corporations such as Walmart, Sears Corp, and Walt Disney.

The companies have since told the media that they had not known or authorized this factory to be a part of their supply chains. The most criticized and vocal of those companies, Walmart admitted that the factory had been producing garments for its retail stores, but without its permission. It has since terminated its relationship with Success Apparel, the company that sub-contracted the work to Tuba Group, of which Tazreen Fashions is a part.

As they have profound influences on not only the local economy but also a region’s denizens and the environment in which their factories operate, transnational corporations have been increasingly criticized for their lack of concern and oversight in countries that manufacture much of their products.

Labor rights groups such as the International Labor Rights Forum say, “low wages and sub-standard safety conditions remain a problem among many of [Bangladesh’s] roughly 3,000 apparel factories because end-buyers squeeze them for rock-bottom production costs.” Essentially, retailers such as Walmart claim they want to enforce more ethical safety and labor standards in these Asian factories, but they want their products to be so low-priced that they are making it difficult for the factories to operate according to those standards. read more.
NewNation

* Victims’ families want compensation:

Family members of the unidentified deceased victims of Tazreen garment fire incident have threatened to lay siege to all garment factories in Ashulia if they are not compensated before January 10.

On behalf of these families, Kabir Hossain, husband of one of the deceased victims, made the announcement at a press conference in Dhaka Reporters’ Unity yesterday.
Of the deceased workers, identities of 47 have not been confirmed yet though more than a month passed into the fire incident. Kabir’s wife Lucky Begum is one such victim.

DNA tests of the unidentified bodies were conducted at Dhaka Medical College Hospital to find their identities. However, the test results are not being published, said Kabir.
As a result, family members of these victims are not getting compensation from the factory owner, he added. read more.
daily star bd

+++++

20130110

* Wal-Mart pressured to name suppliers:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is under increasing pressure from investors and labour-rights groups to name its garment suppliers after a fire in Bangladesh killed more than 100 people at a factory that made its clothes.

Proponents say public disclosure of supply chains — a move made by Nike Inc and other retailers in recent years — encourages accountability that leads to factory improvements in countries where unsafe conditions are widespread.

After the blaze at the Tazreen factory on Nov 24, labour rights organisations have called on Wal-Mart and other companies to take more direct responsibility for the suppliers and factories that make their garments.

Wal-Mart maintains low costs in part by “turning a blind eye” to the conditions and safety of workers around the globe, according to John C Liu, the New York City Comptroller. read more.
daily star bd

* Arrest of Tazreen owner demanded:

The National Garment Workers Federation on Wednesday demanded immediate arrest of Tazreen Fashion Limited owner Delwar Hossain on charge of killing more than 112 workers, died in fire at the factory on November 24, 2012.

The garment workers’ rights body made the demand at a human chain formed in front of the National Press Club.
Addressing the human chain, federation president Amirul Haque Amin said that Delwar could not avoid the responsibilities of the killing of his factory workers caused by his failure to ensure the safety of the workers.
The garment workers will go for tougher agitations, if Delwar is not arrested immediately, he said. read more.  & read more.
BD new age  daily star bd

* Tazreen owner to face legal action if found guilty: Alamgir:

Home Minister Dr. Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir today said legal action would be taken against the owner of Tazreen Fashion Garments if his involvement is found in the sabotage of setting fire to his own factory that killed 111 people.

“CID (Criminal Investigation Department) of police is now  investigating the matter. On completion of the investigation, it  will be known whether the owner of the factory is involved in the  sabotage,” he said after a review meeting with the probe team at
the conference room of the Home Ministry.

Among others senior secretary of Home Ministry CQK Mustaq  Ahmed, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Hassan Mahmud Khandker,
BGMEA President Shafiul Alam Mohiuddin and members of the CID  probe team were present at the meeting. read more.
BSS

* CID take over Tazreen fire case:

The case over the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions has been transferred to Criminal Investigation Department of the police.

The CID were given the responsibility on Wednesday to investigate the deadly fire incident, which claimed at least 111 lives at the readymade garment factory in Ashulia area on Nov 24, at a review meeting of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
After the meeting, Home Minister MK Alamgir told reporters that nobody found responsible, in the CID investigation, for the fire incident would be spared.

Asked if Tazreen Fashions owner would be arrested in the case, he evaded a direct answer.
Trade unions termed the incident ‘mass murder’ alleging the management’s negligence in fire prevention.

Decisions at meeting
The Home Minster said the review meeting made several decisions. They include orders for a quick completion of the investigation and formation of a five-member committee, which will be submit reports to the ministry within three months about security measures taken at factories. read more.
bdnews24

+++++++++++++

20130111

* No damages for all identified families yet:

Not all the families of Tazreen fire victims have received compensation and not all of the families who have been given compensation have received the full amount as yet.

Families of seven of the 59 identified victims have so far not been given any compensation and some of them have yet to get the aggregate amount of Tk 6 lakh.
At least 112 workers were killed in the fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia on November 24, 2012 and 59 victims, of 48 families, could be identified so far.

The Prime Minister’s Office promised to give families of each of the victims Tk 2 lakh in compensation, the labour ministry Tk 1 lakh, the Bangladesh Association of Banks Tk 1 lakh and the Bangladesh Garment
Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association and Li & Fung Tk 2 lakh. The PMO is making the disbursement.
A PMO official said that preliminarily, they had prepared a list of 59 identified victims and the number could be rising. read more.
BD new age

++++++++

20130113

* 40 labour assocs demand arrest, punishment of owner:

Leaders of 40 associations of garment workers on Saturday demanded immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of Tazreen Fashions Ltd owner Delwar Hossain on charge of killing more than 100 workers of his factory in fire on November 24 last.

The labour leaders made the demand while exchanging views with Gana Forum and Socialist Party of Bangladesh leaders at two separate programmes.
Tazreen Fashions owner cannot avoid the responsibility of the workers’ death as he failed to ensure their safety, they said.
The leaders of garment workers also urged the government to pass the labour law amendment bill in the next session of parliament to make the Labour Law 2006 more democratic and worker-friendly by shedding its undemocratic sections. read more.
BD new age

* 3 more Tazreen staffers held:

Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Saturday night arrested three more staffers of Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia in connection with the last November fire that left 112 workers killed in the factory.

The detainees are Security in-charge Anisur Rahman, storekeeper Al Amin and security guard Mohammad Rana Islam.
“The three persons were arrested on suspicion of their involvement in the devastating fire as they had been deployed on the ground floor of the factory from where the fire originated,” said Monsur Ali Mondol, senior assistant superintendent of police at CID, who is the investigation officer of the case.

The CID official said, “They were arrested from their hides and they were produced before court with a seven-day remand for interrogation.”

Earlier, Detective Branch of police arrested administrative officer Dulal Uddin, store in-charge Hamidul Islam Lavlu, and security supervisor Al Amin, 27. Two days after the fire, Ashulia police filed a case in connection with the fire.
They had been arrested suspecting their involvement as they had locked all the collapsible gates when the fire broke out. Had they acted responsibly, many victims could have escaped to safety, the report added.
read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd  UNB
++++++++++++++++

20130115

* Tazreen fire victims get assistance:

The Dhaka district administration on Monday provided financial assistance to the families of those injured and killed in a fire at Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia.

Forty-nine of each deceased family got Tk 15, 000 while 58 of each injured received Tk 5,000 from the Savar upazila project implementation officer’s office.
UNO Kabir Hossain Sarder said each deceased family was given Tk 5,000 after their identification by the administration earlier.
Other local officials were also present.

About 111 workers were killed and many others injured in the devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions recently.
Of the deceased, the bodies of only 49 workers have been identified so far.
to read.
UNB

++++++++++++++

20130116

* Five more Tazreen staff on CID watch:

Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is now on hot pursuit to arrest five more employees of Tazreen Fashion at Ashulia, on the outskirts of the city, in connection with the factory fire that killed 111 workers last year.

“Five more names came up as suspects during our investigation into the matter and we have already strengthened intelligence vigilance to capture them,” Senior CID ASP and Investigation Officer Monsur Ali Mondol told BSS today.

“We have already recorded statements of 50 workers who suffered injuries in the fire and interrogated six detained staff of the factory as part of our investigation,” he said.
He, however, declined to disclose the names of the five staff and information extracted from the detainees for the sake of investigation. read more.
BSS

+++++++++

20130121

* Labour leaders demand arrest of Tazreen owner, Walmart compensation:

Leaders of some trade unions in the garment sector yesterday threatened protests if the Tazreen Fashions owner is not arrested and Walmart does not announce compensations for the fire victims within 72 hours.

The leaders also urged Walmart that cancelled orders with Tazreen Fashions following last year’s fire — not to cancel any working order from Bangladesh during this crisis period.

“We are also urging the government to open a dialogue with Walmart so that the victims of the Tazreen fire get their just compensation,” said Towhidur Rahman, a central leader of the garment workers trade unions.
read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd   BSS  FE bd
++++++++++++++++++

20130124

* Bangladesh Fire Victims’ Families Wait for Money:

When fire ravaged a Bangladeshi garment factory, killing 112 workers, dozens of their families did not even have a body to bury because their loved ones’ remains were burned beyond recognition. Two months later, the same families have yet to receive any of the compensation they were promised — not even their relatives’ last paychecks.

An official with the country’s powerful garment industry said DNA tests must first be conducted to confirm the losses of more than 50 families. He would not say why the families have not even received the wages their relatives had earned before the Nov. 24 blaze.
Many of the families desperately need money after losing their primary breadwinners in the fire at the Tazreen factory, which made clothes for Wal-Mart, Disney and other Western brands.
(…)
“I have got nothing. Nobody is saying anything,” said Ansar, who uses one name and who lost his wife and daughter in the fire.read more  &  read more.
IRRAWADDY   ABCNews.com

* Two months after Tazreen: still no money:

20130124 CCC BD Jomila

Jomila Khatun is the mother of Ainal Hossain (25), who died in the fire. He was her only son. She is a widow and stayed with Ainal and his wife Rasheda. Rasheda has no job.

The family is from Ashulia, the area where the factory was located. “Ainal worked in the garment industry since five years as machine operator on the fourth floor, his salary was 7000Tk.
We found his body the next morning at ten o’clock at the school. Everybody got 20,000Tk but we didn’t, we didn’t know that we were entitled to get money and our mind was somewhere else.

So we received nothing.” Rasheda adds: “There were officials around when we collected the body, but no one told us anything. We didn’t put our name on a list. We just took the body home and buried him on the graveyard the same day. My guardian went to BGMEA on Monday, the next day.
They took his name and mobile number and said that we would get money later. We didn’t get any paper from them that shows that we put our name on the list though.”
read more.
CCC

* No sooth for Tazreen burns; Over 50 victims’ families yet to get wages, compensations:

The US has warned of canceling GSP benefits, EU has taken a resolution criticizing Bangladesh’s lacking in safety legislation in apparel industries, while Walmart has announced “zero-tolerance policy” for violations of its global sourcing standards.
All these moves follow a November fire at Tajreen garments at Ashulia that not only killed 112 people but also revealed a miserable picture of working condition in the factories to shake the humanity across the globe.
(…)
Relatives of over 50 families are yet to be identified by DNA tests as the authorities are showing lethargy to this effect. The families have not even received the wages their relatives had earned before the blaze, it is alleged.
Many of the families desperately need money after losing their primary breadwinners in the fire at the Tazreen factory, which made clothes for Wal-Mart, Disney and other Western brands. read more.
NewNation

* Multi-million Campensation Demand to C&A and KIK for Tazreen Fire Victims:

* Labour groups demand EUR 3 million compensation for families of
   deceased workers.
* Full compensation figure should include costs of medical treatment
   and loss of earnings of injured workers. 
*  EU supports labour group’s call to textile companies to join independent    Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement.

Bangladeshi trade unions and international organisations Bangladeshi trade unions and international organizations call on all brands sourcing from the devastated Tazreen Fashions factory, which burnt down 24 November 2012 killing at least 112 workers, to ensure compensation, emergency relief and medical treatment to all those affected by the fire. The brands are also urged, along with other key
brands and stakeholders, for an immediate and transparent investigation into the events surrounding the fire and to take steps to prevent future tragedies in the industry.

The Clean Clothes Campaign and Bangladeshi trade unions calculate that at least 3 million Euro compensation should be paid to the families of the deceased for damages and loss of earnings. In addition, brands are expected to provide compensation for injured workers, cover costs of emergency relief and medical treatment and compensate loss of earnings suffered by workers recovering and those left unemployed as a result of the disaster. The full compensation package should cover educational fees for the children of the deceased. Immediate remuneration is vital, as a majority of workers still awaits compensation and is building debts due to medical costs and the loss of their jobs.

“The final compensation should be at least double 3 million Euros when the full impact on injured and unemployed workers is known, and the real loss of families of workers that died is taken into account.
The figure is a drop in the ocean for global brands, but means survival for Bangladesh garment workers who can earn as little as 30 Euros per month,” says Tessel Pauli from the Clean Clothes Campaign. “Brands must also take long term preventative steps to prevent future fires.
No more workers should burn to death making our clothes.”
(…)
The Clean Clothes Campaign urges buyers from Tazreen Fashions who have not yet admitted to sourcing from the factory to step forward and take full responsibility.
read more.
Find the CCC petition here.
CCC

+++++++++

20130127

* Tazreen families demand compensation:

The cries of Tazreen workers and their families once again filled the air of Nishchintapur on Friday as they expressed their frustration over the slow DNA identification and compensation process and legal action against the Tazreen owner.

Two months after the fire that claimed at least 112 lives, the families of the victims organised a demonstration outside the factory premises, with the help of Garments Sramik Oikko Forum and Activist Anthropologists, to vocalise their demands.

The bodies of their loved ones are yet to be identified despite the DNA tests, said the family members who spoke at the rally attended by hundreds.

“We have been sent from one place to another and made to go through a series of bureaucratic processes and yet we have not seen their bodies,” said one Wahidul, widowed by the inferno on November 24.  read more. & read more.
daily star bd  UNB

* Punish errant owners:

CPD dialogue told tragedies like Tazreen repeat as careless garment employers enjoy culture of impunity

Lawmakers, labour leaders and civil society members yesterday demanded arrest of the owner of Tazreen Fashions and others responsible for the death of at least 112 workers in a blaze in the factory.

They said successive governments have refrained from bringing factory owners to book for deaths of workers in fire and other incidents, and such culture of impunity has encouraged factory owners to remain indifferent to the workers’ safety and security.
“This sort of incident will continue to happen unless owners are brought to justice,” said Israfil Alam, chairman of parliamentary standing committee on Ministry of Labour and Employment.

He was speaking at a dialogue organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) at the CIRDAP auditorium in the capital.
Alam said many workers were killed in fire and other incidents in the last two decades. “But no owner has so far taken responsibility for any of the incidents or deaths of workers in the factories.”

He also criticised the probe report by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association that termed the November 24 fire incident an act of “sabotage”.
“Your report appears to be aiming to protect the owners.”   read more.
daily star bd

* Arrest of Tazreen owner demanded:

Speakers at a dialogue Saturday demanded immediate arrest and punishment of Tazreen factory owner for his alleged negligence that led to killing of 114 workers in November.

“This is nothing but killing of workers because of owner’s negligence,” said a speaker who attended the dialogue on “Occupational safety risks in the RMG sector: Challenges and way out.”

They expressed their concerns over poor labour standards and insufficient safety measures in the country’s apparel industry urging the authorities to take effective steps so that not a single garment worker in future dies in factory fire. To overcome the longstanding abuse of workers rights, they also demanded implementation of their rights to form trade unions and ILO (International Labour Organisation) conventions and internationally recognised practices on labour issues.
read more.
INDEPENDENT

* Relatives of Tazreen fire victims rally:

Threaten to lay siege to home ministry

Several hundred relatives of Tazreen fire victims at protests in front of the factory at Ashulia on Friday threatened to besiege the home ministry if compensation for the dead, the injured and others who went missing were not paid by January 31.

They also put forth a seven-point charter of demands including the arrest of the factory owner, proper compensation for both the deceased  and the injured and action against factories having no proper fire-fighting equipment.
Social workers and organisations, columnists, politicians, artists, journalists, teachers, students and people of professions also attended the programme at the gate of Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Nishchintapur of Ashulia.

At least 112 workers were killed and more than a hundred were injured in the fire at the factory on November 24, 2012.
Columnist Rahnuma Ahmed, Jahangirnagar University teacher Nasim Akter Hossain, vocalist Arup Rahi, journalist  Faruk Wasif and representatives of families of the victims and many local organisations also spoke at the rally.
The speakers said that the factory fire was not an accident and it was rather planned killing as the owners were negligent about safety and security of  workers.
read more.
BD new age

* Call to allow TUs for RMG workers to protect rights:

Speakers at a dialogue Saturday demanded of the government to immediately arrest the owner of Tazreen Fashions Ltd and mete out punishment to the persons responsible for the devastating fire incident that took lives of 112 workers.

They said, if the persons responsible are brought to face justice and given exemplary punishment, no such incident would ever recur.

They also demanded granting of rights to form trade unions in garment factories to protect workers’ interest and ensure their occupational and workplace safety.

They were speaking at a dialogue on “Work Environment in the RMG Sector and Labour Safety Consequences and What Needs to be Done”, organised by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in the city Saturday.

Md Israfil Alam, chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE), was present as chief guest while Mikail Shipar, MoLE secretary and Nazrul Islam Khan, executive director of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) were special guests and Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, first vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) was guest of honour.  read more.
FE bd

++++++

20130128

* ‘No proof of sabotage in Tazreen fire’ :

Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir on Sunday said there was no proof of any “act of sabotage” behind the fire at Ashulia’s Tazreen Fashions Ltd, which claimed the lives of over hundred garment workers late last year.

He said there was no evidence to prove that the factory authorities would have “benefited” by deliberately setting the factory ablaze. He made the comments after a meeting at the ministry over the current law and order situation.
The minister’s comment is in sharp contrast to the recent report of his ministry’s investigation team, which recommended suing 10 officials of Tazreen Fashions Ltd, including its owner Delwar Hossain, for the fire.

The committee in the report also maintained that it was an “act of sabotage”, but it failed to identify those responsible for the loss of 111 lives on Nov 24 last year. A probe by the Bangladesh Garments Manu­facturers’ and Expor­­ters’ Association (BGMEA) echoed the Home Ministry report.  to read.
INDEPENDENT

* Workers’ ultimatum to arrest Tazreen, Smart owners:

Three organisations of garment workers on Monday issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the government to arrest the owners of Tazreen Fashion Ltd and Smart Export Garments Ltd.

The organisations threatened to besiege the Labour Directors’ Office on February 3 if their demands were not met by the deadline.
The organisations issued the ultimatum from a two-hour sit-in since noon in front of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) building in the capital.

Around 500 garment workers along with writers and socio-political personalities took part in the programme jointly organised by Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre, Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council and Bangladesh Textile Garment Workers Federation.  read more.
daily star bd

++++++

20130129

* Workers’ ultimatum to arrest Tazreen, Smart owners:

Three organisations of garment workers on Monday issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the government to arrest the owners of Tazreen Fashion Ltd and Smart Export Garments Ltd.

The organisations threatened to besiege the Labour Directors’ Office on February 3 if their demands were not met by the deadline.
The organisations issued the ultimatum from a two-hour sit-in since noon in front of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) building in the capital.

Around 500 garment workers along with writers and socio-political personalities took part in the programme jointly organised by Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre, Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council and Bangladesh Textile Garment Workers Federation.  read more.
daily star bd

* Cultural activists give ultimatum to arrest owners of Tazreen, Smart:

Cultural activists yesterday donned white burial shrouds, symbolising the seven garment workers who died in a recent factory fire, at a rally to protest the unsafe garment factories.

A 48-hour ultimatum has been given to the government to arrest the owners of Tazreen Fashions and Smart Export Garment — the two garment factories where fire killed at least 119 workers in the last two months.

The owners of the garment factories should bear the responsibility of the deaths caused by factory fires in the last couple of months, said the leaders of garment workers’ associations who spoke at the rally, also attended by leaders of several left political parties.

Should the owners still remain at large after January 31, the activists threatened to cordon the Directorate of Labour on February 3.
read more.  & read more. & read more.
daily star bd  newstodayBD  INDEPENDENT

* RMG workers threaten strike, road blockade:

3-day ultimatum issued to arrest Tazreen, Smart owners

Garment labour leaders on Monday issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the government to arrest the owners of Tazreen Fashions Ltd and Smart Export Garments Ltd or face tough agitation programmes like strike and road blockade.

They also threatened to lay siege to the labour directorate office on February 3.
The ultimatum came from a demonstration staged by the Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre, the Bangladesh Textile Garment Workers’ Federation, and the Garment Workers’ Unity Forum in front of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association Bhaban at Karwanbazar in the city.

The demonstrators demanded lifetime compensation for the families of the
dead and for the injured workers in the fire incidents, arrest of the owners and other people responsible for the deaths, and ensuring work place safety in the garment sector.  read more. & read more.
BD new age

* Arrest Tazreen, Smart owners in 48 hrs: Workers’ bodies to govt:

Several organisations of garment workers on Monday gave the government a 48-hour ultimatum to arrest the owners of Smart Export Garment Ltd and Tazreen Fashions Ltd in connection with the fire incidents at the two factories that killed 119 workers.

At a rally in front of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Bhaban, they also threatened to take the law into their own hands to confine the garment factory owners if police fail to arrest them by the deadline.

Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre, Bangladesh Garment Sramik Oikya Parishad, Bangladesh Textile Garment Workers Federation and some other organisations of garment workers arranged the rally.

Speaking at the rally, relatives of the deceased, injured and missing workers of Tazreen Fashions also claimed that they were being harassed by BGMEA officials in their pursuit of getting the compensation.  read more. & read more.
UNB FE bd

* BGMEA sit-in calls for arrests:

20130128 BD24 Ashik+Hossain-Photo-1Apparel workers on Monday held the owners of Tazreen Fashions and Smart Fashions responsible for the death of at least 118 workers in devastating fires, demanding they be arrested by Jan 31.

They hit the authorities with the deadline from a sit-in demonstration in front of the BGMEA Complex at the capital’s Karwan Bazar.

The readymade garment workers threatened of tougher agitation programmes if their demand remained unmet.
Moshrefa Mishu, General Secretary for Garment Sramik Oikya Forum, said, “The office of the Director of Labour will be cordoned off on Feb 3 at 12 noon if our demands are not met. If necessary, we will stage blockades and strikes with garment workers across the country.”

’Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra’, Bangladesh Textile Workers Federation and ‘Garment Sramik Oikya Forum jointly staged the sit-in.
They also demanded safe working environments for workers and fair compensation for the lives lost to the incidents of fire.  read more.
bdnews24

* Plea filed seeking arrest of Tazreen, Smart owners:

A petition was filed with the High Court on Tuesday seeking its directive upon the government to arrest the owners of Tazreen Fashion Ltd and Smart Export Garments Ltd where fire killed at least 119 workers in the last two months.

Advocate Eunus Ali Akand, a Supreme Court lawyer, filed the petition.
In the petition, he also sought HC order on the authorities concerned of the government and the two garment factories to pay adequate compensation to the family members of the deceased and the injured workers.

The petition also said the workers were killed in separate incidents of fires at the garment factories due to the negligence of the owners in taking adequate safety measures.
The owners did not pay compensation to the family members of the deceased and the injured workers, the petitioner said. read more.
daily star bd

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20130130

* Unfit licensed as fire-fit:

The fire department issued safety clearance to Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia although the factory had grossly lacked fire safety measures and building approval.

On November 24, 2012, a devastating fire in the factory on the outskirts of the capital killed 112 workers.
In 2008, the fire department first issued licence for the erstwhile three-storey factory building. They kept renewing the licence year after year until June, 2012 while owner of the factory Delwar Hossain kept extending the building illegally.

The fire department, however, served a notice on Tazreen Fashions in July, 2012 asking it to renew the licence. But the factory owner did not pay heed to that.
Maj Mohammad Mahboob, a director of Directorate of Fire Service and Civil Defence, admitted that the factory building lacked fire-protected emergency escape as per building code.  read more.
daily star bd

* HC moved for owners’ arrest:

The High Court was moved on Tuesday to order authorities to arrest owners of the two readymade garment factories where fire incidents left at least 118 people dead in two months.

Supreme Court lawyer Yunus Ali Akand in the petition also sought orders for adequate compensation to families of the fire victims.
The petitioner said the bench of Justices AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury and Mahmudul Hoque might hear the plea on Wednesday.

The petition has sought orders for arrest of the owner of Tazreen Fashions and three directors of Smart Fashions ‘within 24 hours’ and payment of compensations to the families ‘within 72 hours’.  read more.
bdnews24

* Petition filed to arrest owners of Tazreen Fashion, Smart Export:

A petition was filed with the High Court (HC) Tuesday seeking its directive upon the law enforcing agencies to arrest the owners of two garment factories, where at least 119 workers were killed by devastating fire recently.

The HC’s directive was also sought upon the Labour Ministry secretary, owners of the factories and BGMEA to give adequate compensation to family members of the workers killed at the fire at Tazreen Fashion Ltd and Smart Export Garments Ltd.

The public interest litigation (PIL), filed by a citizen Sherajul Alam Khan of Kathalbagan area, is likely to be heard at a HC Division bench today (Wednesday), his lawyer Advocate Dr Md Eunus Ali Akond told the FE.  read more.
FE bd

* DNA test of 37 Tazreen fire victims matched:

11 more bodies remain unrecognised

DNA testing of 37 Tazreen fire victims matched with samples collected from their immediate family members confirming identities of the unfortunate workers two months after the devastating fire, ministry sources said.

Dr. Abul Hossain, project director of Multi-Sectoral Programme on Violence Against Women handed over the results of DNA testing to the secretary of Ministry of Labour and Manpower on Tuesday.
Dhaka Medical College Hospital conducted the DNA testing to ascertain the identities of Tazrin fire victims.

At least 114 workers were killed and many others were injured in the devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia on November 24 last year. At least 57 bodies were charred beyond recognition and were buried as unidentified.
Doctors from DMCH collected samples from the charred bodies and immediate family members for DNA test to ascertain their identify of the victims.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
INDEPENDENT  NewNation UNB  daily star bd  FE bd

* Those responsible for RMG sector setback must be punished: Atiur:

Bangladesh Bank (BB) governor Atiur Rahman on Tuesday said there is no way for the government but to punish those responsible for the recent upset in the readymade garment (RMG) industry if the country’s economic march forward is to be sustained.

“The government needs to address the problem seriously as the country is right now in the spotlight of the international community,” he said referring to the recent fire incidents in the RMG sector.

He was addressing the closing session of a day-long workshop, titled ‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in a Safe Factory’, jointly organised by the Canadian High Commission and the Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham) at the Canadian Club in the city. read more.  & read more.
UNB  FE bd

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20130131

* Some solace for families:

After two months of agonising wait, the family members of 11 victims of Tazreen fire could finally find a sense of closure as they paid respect to their loved ones at Jurain graveyard in the capital yesterday.

A day after DNA tests confirmed the identities of the 11 victims, their family members spotted the graves of the ill-fated garment workers, whose bodies were burnt beyond recognition in the country’s worst industrial blaze.

Kabir Hossain sat in front of the grave of his wife, Lucky Begum, telling her resting soul how much he and his six-year-old son missed her. Sprinkling water on her grave, he muttered, “He [the boy] cries for you all the time…”

Abdul Malek, whose wife perished in the fire leaving behind three children, said, “My youngest daughter, who is only 5-year-old, keeps asking me where her mother is. I fail to give her any answer.”  read more.
daily star bd

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20130201

* BGMEA membership saves Tazreen owner: CPB:

Communist Party of Bangladesh on Thursday said that the owner of Tazreen Fashion, Delwar Hossain, was not arrested since he was a member of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

In a statement, the party president Mujahidul Islam Selim and general secretary Syed Abu Zafar Ahmed demanded immediate arrest of Delwar on charge of ‘killing 124 workers’ in a fire at the factory at Savar on November 24, 2012.
They said that the police on Wednesday arrested Smart Export Garment Ltd. chairman Sharif Ahmed Salam and managing director Zakir Ahmed on charge of killing seven workers, killed in a fire at the factory at Mohammadpur on January 24, while they were yet to arrest the owner of Tazreen.

It is contrary to the rule of law that the police is not arresting the Tazreen owner as he is a member of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, they said.
The left leaders expressed their vow to continue their movements to press for the arrest of owner of Tazreen Fashion.  to read.
BD new age

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20130202

*  Ashes of Souls:

“A silent burial ground, where maybe the ashes of wounded souls are still encircling. Broken pieces of burnt smashed tiles with countless shards of glass can tell the tale of how staircases could not save hundreds of scorched living beings. Imagining myself at the place of these unfortunate garments workers who were burned alive, I felt vulnerable. Shoes, bangles or an unfinished ironed cloth in the stand or the half eaten evening tiffin are standing witness to how workers died helplessly. Pieces of glass bangles all over the floor, as mostly female workers had faced the tragedy, were witness to a violent disaster no one of them had even seen in nightmares. & thus by facing fire they lost their existence in a burning blaze” – GMB Akash

20130202 SHAHIDULNEWS textile-for-blog-71

Tazreen Fashions, located in a rural area of Ashulia occupies a nine-storied building.
The ground floor, which stored the factory’s raw materials, had the only entrance to the factory, with three staircases leading to other floors.

The fire at the eight-story building of the apparel factory started on the first floor, quickly cutting off all three exits from the building. Survivors stated that at least one exit was locked while no emergency exits existed in the building whatsoever. Some workers tried to escape the fire by jumping out of the windows of upper floors – many of them died.
Others choked to death in the thick smoke of burning fabrics. Many of the bodies the firefighters found in the ruins were burnt beyond recognition. Later it was estimated that more than 1,000 people could have been inside the building when the fire started. But survivors claim more.
read more.
SHAHIDULnews

* BGMEA is responsible for the deaths of Tazreen’s workers:

BGMEA is a giant propaganda machinery which protects killers

Many garment workers died on the evening of November 24th when fire broke out in Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia’s Nischintapur. The exact death toll is still unknown. According to the government, 112 workers had died but many family members were unable to identify their beloved ones as the flesh had burnt away leaving behind only charred bones and skeletons.

Fifty three unidentified bodies have been buried in Jurain graveyard. But several investigative reports have concluded that the death toll is higher. Some of us have conducted preliminary research in Nischintapur’s Buripara at our own initiative, and, we too, have been forced to reach the same conclusion. The government and the BGMEA should immediately have launched a serious drive to ascertain the exact number of those who have died, but instead they displayed a callous indifference which amounts to nothing short of criminal negligence.

The government and the BGMEA are also guilty of creating smokescreens, despicably aimed at letting the owner of Tazreen Fashions off the hook and, reducing the likelihood of compensation claims:  (i) the families of those workers who jumped to their death have not been given any compensation (ii) the families of many dead workers have not been given compensation because they have been unable to identify their loved one’s body. But who is to blame for the inability of family members to recognise charred bones and skeletons?  read more.
SHAHIDULnews

* Arrest of Tazreen owners demanded:

Politicians and labour leaders on Friday called on the government to ensure safety of the workers at their workplace and demanded immediate arrest of Tazreen Fashions owner Delwar Hossain.

Addressing the opening session of 12th biannual conference of National Garment Workers Federation at Rassel Mancha at Workers Party central office premises. they also expressed concern for not arresting the Tazreen owner on charge of killing more than one hundred workers in a fire on November 24.
Speaking on the occasion, Workers Party of Bangladesh president Rashed Khan Menon demanded immediate arrest of Tazreen owner and said he should not be allowed to escape as a BGMEA member. read more.
BD new age

* National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) brought out a red-flag procession in the capital on Friday marking the 12th biennial conference:

20130202 NEWNATION

NewNation

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20130203

* Apparel industry workers deserve better:

The tragic saga of garments workers continues to mount with no end in sight to the cruel exploitation.

How cruel the fate of the most exploited at the lower end of the largest volume of foreign exchange earner can be is illustrated to a large extent by the hapless and well beyond recognition charred bodies of workers of the Tazreen garments factory.

Families of the dead workers whose bodies could be identified at least received monetary compensation and did not have to suffer the mental agony on account of lack of identification of their daughters, sisters, mothers or wives. But those families which had the misfortune of not knowing which of the charred bodies was theirs had to suffer doubly because of the loss plus the uncertainty involved -uncertainty of ever performing the last rites every religion makes it obligatory and then over receiving any compensation. Even the injured were handed some compensation although that is meagre compared to the loss suffered.
(…)
The 11 unidentified bodies are a proof that life in this land is no better than what stray dogs lead here. Nameless and rootless with no one mourning for these once human beings, they have not even earned the minimum esteem to be given the last rites by their near and dear ones. How undignified and demeaning for human souls!
It is exactly where entire humanity should hang its head in shame. Society where such things can happen has no right to claim sophistication and elitism. No wonder, brutality and outrage have replaced fellow feeling and social justice. Any human soul needs to be comforted and given the care it deserves in times of suffering and illness.  read more.
FE bd

….no better than what stray dogs lead here.
Nameless and rootless with no one mourning for these once human beings, they have not even earned the minimum esteem to be given the last rites by their near and dear ones.
How undignified and demeaning for human souls!

It is exactly where entire humanity should hang its head in shame……

And also the Western countries and companies … Who have a responsibility !
DUCS-twitter

* Labour leaders demand arrest of Tazreen owner:

Several garment labour rights organizations on Sunday laid siege to Srama Bhaban in the city to demanding arrest of Tazreen Fashions owner Delwar Hossain.

Speaking at a rally at the spot Mantu Ghosh, the president of Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre, called upon the labour director and chief inspector of factories to take adequate steps to ensure workers’ safety at workplace.
President of Garment Workers’ Unity Council, Mushrefa Mishu, said that the owner of Tazreen Fashions could not avoid the responsibility of deaths  of 112 workers and injury to many more in his factory fire on November 24,  as he failed to ensure their safety.

Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, the president of the Bangladesh Textile Garments Workers’ Federation said that unless the Tazreen Fashions owner was
arrested by February 10 the workers would go for  a tougher action programme to press the demand for his arrest. read more.
BD new age

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20130211

* Tazreen victims yet to be compensated:

The majority of the families of Tazreen victims are yet to receive compensation more than two months after the tragic incident, owing to hold-ups in the identification procedure.

To date, only 43 of the 112 deceased’s families were given compensation of Tk 6 lakh each, on December 4.
“We did not receive any compensation from anybody. We have contacted the BGMEA [Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association] and other sources, but no one gave us anything,” said Rashida Akter, widow of Aynal Hossain.

Hossain, a senior sewing operator, died in the fatal fire at the Tazreen premises on November 24, along with at least 111 others.
“We identified his body right after the incident and buried him the following morning. Maybe we did not receive any compensation, as we buried him immediately,” Akter said.
Jamila Khatun, Hossain’s mother, too, did not receive anything from the BGMEA or the government. read more.
daily star bd

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20130214

* Arrest of Tazreen owner iterated:

Rights body National Garment Workers Federation on Wednesday restated its demand for the arrest of the owner of Tazreen Fashions, giving a fresh call to the authorities for bringing charges against him for causing death of at least 112 workers in a raging fire at his factory.

They said it was the factory management’s utter failure in maintaining security measures that caused the fire to take so many lives on November 24 at the Ashulia factory.
Organisation’s leaders at a rally in front of the National Press Club also demanded compensations for the 15 thousand workers of Hallmark Garments who were laid off as the factories shut down. read more.
BD new age

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20130217

*  6 more Tazreen fire victims identified:

Six more workers who among 53 were burnt to death beyond recognition in the Tazreen Fashions fire and buried unidentified were identified from DNA sampling of their relatives.

The National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory at Dhaka Medical College Hospital submitted the test reports of four workers to the labour ministry and reports of the rest two would be submitted shortly, the lab sources said.
Mikail Shipar, secretary in-charge to the labour and employment ministry, on
Thursday told New Age that he had received four more matching reports recently and sent them to the Prime Minister’s Office for the next procedure.
He said that after the submission of the test reports of the four fire victims by the DNA lab, the number of identified workers stood at 41.  read more.
BD new age

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20130220

* Most families of Tazreen victims get no compensation:

Most of the families of 112 workers died in fire at Tazreen Fashions in November 2012 have yet to get any damages.

The families of only 53 of the 112 victims have received compensation although 103 of the victims have so far been identified.
The families of the 53 compensated victims, however, said that they were yet to get the full package of the compensation promised by the government, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association and other authorities concerned Even the families of nine of the 62 identified victims listed by the prime minister’s office have yet to get the compensation.

The nine victims were Aynal of Ashulia, Fatema of Madhupur in Tangail, Sima Begum of Sariakandi in Bogra, Rupsha of Rangpur, Nasrin Bewa of Chauhali in Sirajganj, Bulbuli of Sonatala in Bogra, Juleka Begum of Chatmohar in Pabna, and Morsheda Begum and Anowara Begum of Mithapukur in Rangpur.  read more.
BD new age

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20130221

* Three Months After Tazreen Fire, Little Change:

Three months after at least 112 workers died in the Tazreen Fashion factory fire, dangerous and deadly working conditions are commonplace for the nearly 2 million Bangladeshi garment workers, who have little recourse than to take jobs that may kill them.

Despite international outrage and local promises to improve workplace safety, at least 37 fire and fire-related incidents have occurred in Bangladeshi garment factories since the Nov. 24 Tazreen tragedy, according to data compiled by Solidarity Center staff in Bangladesh. Nine more people have lost their lives at work and more than 650 garment workers have been injured. The Solidarity Center in the capital, Dhaka, has received reports that underage workers were injured at one factory fire incident.

February 20, World Day of Social Justice, highlights the necessity of promoting decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all. Despite a global outcry about workplace safety following the Tazreen fire, where flames engulfed a multistory building lacking in fire escapes and exits, Bangladesh has averaged three fire incidents a week. Bangladeshi garment workers—extremely poor and vulnerable and primarily women—risk their lives every day on the job, often too fearful to complain about substandard conditions and possible dangers.
read more.
SOLIDARITYCENTER

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20130225-26

* Dutch co to help Tazreen fire victims:

A Dutch buying company–C&A – has expressed its willingness to help pay damages to the Tazreen fire victims, especially the injured ones, which includes contribution to the loss of income and expenses for treatment.

Caritas Bangladesh has already developed a project with assistance from C&A to help rehabilitate the fire injured, who are still suffering from injuries and become unable to work.
BGMEA has already identified about 50 fire injured out of 89 who were given treatment after the devastating fire.  to read. & read more.
INDEPENDENT  FE bd

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20130228

* 2 foreign buyers to form foundation to support wards of Tazreen fire victims:

C & A and Li and Fung-two global buyers have come up with their supports to provide educational and medical expenses to the children of Tazreen fire victims, officials said.

Under the move, the buyers in association with the BGMEA-the apparel apex body-are going to form a foundation to run their support programme until the children turn 18 years old.
BGMEA will work as a facilitator while the two buyers will render the financial support. read more.

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20130301

* C&A declares support for Bangla garment factory victims:

C&A Europe announced numerous support measures following a fire at the garment factory of ‘Tazreen Fashion’ in Dhaka, Bangladesh. During the fire on 24 November, 112 people had died.

Among other products, the factory had manufactured garments for C&A. Ever since this terrible event, supporting the victims and improving fire safety measures in Bangladesh has been the main priority for C&A. An overview of measures is described below.

Recipients of financial support are
1. Children who lost a parent at the fire
2. Those injured and unable as yet to return to work
3. Families who lost a relative in the fire

The total funds being donated by C&A via the C&A Foundation in support of the 3 groups of victims as described above are estimated to be more than one million USD. 70 children from 46 families have been named as having lost at least one parent in the fire. An amount of USD 50 (4000 Taka) per month will be made available for each of these children until they reach the age of 18 years old.
read more. & read more.
Fibre2fashion  FE bd
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20130305

* Families of 57 Tazreen fire dead workers get compensation:

Labour and Employment Minister Raziuddin Ahmed Razu informed the House on Monday that the families of a total of 57 persons out of 111 who were killed in a fire at Tazreen Fashion at Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital have been given compensation so far, reports BSS.

“The activities for providing compensation to the families of the rest killed workers are going on,” he said in reply to a tabled question from treasury bench member Begum Faridunnahar Laily.
The minister said Taka 6 lakh is being given to the family of each of the dead workers. The Prime Minister herself handed over a cheque for Taka 6 lakh to each family of the 48 killed workers on December 4, he said.
read more. & read more.
newstodayBD  BSS

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20130306

* C&A fails to base calculations for the compensation package for the Tazreen’s victims:

*  Last week, C&A outlined its compensation package for the Tazreen victims C&A fails to base calculations for the compensation package for the Tazreen’s victims on relevant international standards and established best practices

* Amount proposed represents 4% of what is needed

* C&A did not involve local trade unions in determining the amount and methods of disbursal


* The Clean Clothes Campaign call upon C&A to negotiate a full and fair settlement directly with local trade unions.

The package proposed by C&A foresees medical costs for injured workers as well as compensation for relatives of deceased workers (both children and other relatives).
The Clean Clothes Campaign welcomes the scope of the package as it includes several groups who have been severely affected by the Tazreen Tragedy which costs the lives of at least 112 garment workers on 24 November last year.

However, the CCC is disappointed by the refusal of C&A to base their calculations on ILO Convention N° 121 and established best practice in Bangladesh. “The amount (1.200$) proposed by C&A for the relatives of the deceased workers is less than 4% of what is needed as calculated by Bangladeshi unions based on previously established formulas in Bangladesh” argues Tessel Pauli from the Clean Clothes Campaign.
“In a country such as Bangladesh where compensation for victims is not adequately provided for by the employers and authorities, we expect brands that were sourcing from Tazreen to pay at least 45% of all the compensation that is needed”, she adds. “After all, C&A has been able to make profits year after year because of the low wages and social security costs in the Bangladeshi garment industry, without ensuring the safety of the factories.”

CCC is also disappointed by the absolute lack of trade union involvement in determining the amounts and the mechanisms for disbursal. C&A relies instead on the BGMEA for this, and adds its contribution to theirs. However thus far only the families of 53 dead workers received (some) compensation from BGMEA.

CCC calls upon C&A to invite the local unions and other brands to the table and negotiate a full and fair settlement. Last week, Bangladeshi local unions reached an agreement with two buyers on compensation for the families of the 8 workers killed in the Smart export factory fire on 26 January. “The Smart case agreement follows the model of the Eurotex, Hameem and Spectrum cases where brands chose to negotiate using international standards. C&A should follow established best practice, as proposed several times by CCC and partners. Working with local unions will enable C&A and other brands to develop a disbursement that reaches all victims in a transparent and quick fashion. Already far too much time has passed”, says Pauli.

The CCC salutes the willingness of C&A to consider joining the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement. The purpose of the Agreement, which has been signed by PVH, owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, and German retailer Tchibo, is to prevent and correct the dangerous fire safety risks that have now resulted in more than 700 worker deaths over the past decade.

The need for C&A to sign up to the Agreement is made all the more urgent when looking at the new audit program announced by C&A. The program is unlikely to create any real change and lacks worker involvement, transparency and independency of inspections.

C&A states that if violations are identified they will take their orders out of the factory until these are remedied. But without commitments to financial support and adequate pricing, it is unlikely that their suppliers and subcontractors will undertake the remediation requested. This means that the workers are left in a dangerous building, while C&A leaves the premises. Neither the supplier lists nor the inspection reports are made public, so no action will be triggered from any other party either. Even if the supplier would agree to remedy part of the violations, for example by unlocking the emergency exits, this is likely to be reversed once the commercial audit firm chosen by C&A has left the building.

A central role for workers and unions, including worker-led safety committees in all factories and access to factories for unions to educate workers on how they can protect their rights and their safety, including their right to refuse unsafe work, is very much needed. “ C&A has over 200 suppliers in Bangladesh, and produces over a third of their garments there. They can and should do more to prevent unnecessary factory worker deaths. Signing this Agreement and working with trade unions in Bangladesh is the first, essential step.”

Clean Clothes Campaign together with its global allies will continue its public campaign calling upon all brands sourcing from Tazreen worldwide to ensure a full, fair and negotiated settlement, and to sign the Fire and Building Safety Agreement. Actions are foreseen in the US and Europe in the coming weeks.
CCC
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20130314

* Call upon Tazreen brands to deliver the goods:

JUSTICE FOR FASHION VICTIMS

Read & Support & Sign Please here.

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20130316

* Govt, BGMEA accused of hiding real number of missing workers:

Families of the workers who went missing in the Tazreen Fashions blaze, labour bodies, and a group of anthropologists on Saturday accused the government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association of machinating to hide the actual number of workers burnt to death on November 24 last.

The allegation was made at a press conference jointly organised by families of Tazreen fire victims, labour organisations, and the Activist Anthropologists at the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity.
Family members of the missing victims said four months had passed since the incident but they were yet to get justice or compensations. They demanded immediate action against the owner of the company and other people responsible for the fire.
The Activist Anthropologists claimed the death toll in the fire was more than 126 but the government and the owners claimed it to be 112, which was a clear attempt at hiding the truth.  read more.

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20130317

* Call for quick detection of Tazreen victims:

The families of the workers of Tazreen Fashions yesterday expressed their outrage, as the BGMEA and the government have not yet identified the bodies of the victims who died in the factory fire nearly four months earlier.

Meanwhile, Tazreen workers who were injured in the fire stated that many of them had not been given any compensation for their treatment.
They spoke at a press briefing organised by Garments Sromik Oikko Forum, Activist-Anthropologist and Garments Sromik Shonghoti at Dhaka Reporter’s Unity.
So far 41 bodies have been identified through DNA samples, but as many as 27 bodies still remain “missing”, speakers said.
“What happened to the body of the wife who died in the fire? We provided blood samples, but they said the blood of my father-in-law didn’t match any of the victims. Then we ask the government: what happened to her?” asked an outraged Ruhul Hannan.  read more.
daily star bd

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20130409

* CAMPAIGN FOR COMPENSATION- Tazreen fire survivor going to US:

A survivor of Tazreen Fashions fire, Sumi Abedin, is going to the USA this week to urge companies whose goods were being made in the factory to compensate the victims.

She will join with the labour-rights activists and union groups and stage demonstration in front of the corporate headquarters of companies including Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Walt Disney Co, reports The Wall Street Journal.
According to the report, the effort is a part of a growing campaign by labour-rights activists to make public what they say are poor working conditions at overseas factories producing clothing for US consumers.

Labour groups say that the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Bangladesh government have begun paying some of the Tazreen workers and their families but that companies haven’t compensated workers and families for their losses.
Although products made for Wal-Mart were found at the scene of the fire, the company said its suppliers were not authorised to produce clothing there.
read more.

* Compensation deal for Tazreen workers- Apr 15 meet in Geneva receives poor response from buyer cos:

A meeting by workers rights group scheduled for April 15 in Geneva has received poor response from the buyer companies, said an online agency.

The group ‘IndustriALL Global Union’ had convened the meeting to discuss a universal compensation agreement for the Tazreen Fashions’ workers, the online.wsj.com said Monday.
“Few retailers have responded to the invitation,” the report said adding that many of the retailers have declined to comment on compensation packages.

Although products made for Wal-Mart were found at the scene of the fire, the company has said its suppliers weren’t authorized to produce clothing there. Disney didn’t respond to requests for comment.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson declined to comment directly on the compensation paid to workers of the Tazreen Fashions plant, where 112 people died last November. The company is “focused on investing our resources in proactive programmes that will address fire safety in the garment and textile industry in Bangladesh and prevent fires before they happen,” she said.

Labour groups say that the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Bangladesh government have begun paying compensation to some of the Tazreen workers and their families but Tazreens’ retailers haven’t compensated workers and families for their losses.  read more.

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20130411

* Tazreen Fire Survivor Meets with Rep. Miller:

Today, ILRF brought a survivor of the Tazreen fire and a Bangladeshi labor rights leader to meet with Rep. George Miller in Washington, DC. Here’s what Rep. Miller said following the meeting: 

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, issued the following statement today after meeting with a survivor of the Tazreen factory fire and other human rights leaders. Rep. Miller met with Sumi Abedin, a survivor of the Tazreen fire in Bangladesh that killed 112 workers in November 2012, Kalpona Akter, the executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, and other international workers’ rights leaders.“Sumi has shown great courage in travelling to the United States in order to speak out on the horrific Tazreen factory fire that took the lives of 112 of her coworkers. Her stories provide real insight into the outrageous working conditions that she and her fellow workers had to endure. There have been at least 40 fires in Bangladeshi garment factories since this tragedy.  It’s only a matter of time before the next Tazreen happens. I am increasingly concerned that the response by most U.S. brands that subcontract with these manufacturers has been woefully inadequate. When the cost to fix these fire hazards is estimated to be a mere 10 cents per garment, global brands like GAP and Wal-Mart need to be committing resources and entering into enforceable agreements to protect the lives of workers who create the ready-to-wear clothes they sell. Sumi’s coworkers who perished in this fire must not be forgotten.” to read.
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20130412

* End Death Traps: 10 city tour, April 8-26, 2013:

For years, Walmart, Gap and other major brands have produced clothes in factories that they know are fire traps. As a result, over 600 garment workers, mostly young women, have died in what could have been preventable factory fires. Fight this horrendous abuse by joining the growing numbers of consumers working to hold Walmart, Gap and other major retailers accountable for their failure to uphold labor rights throughout their supply chains. 

Partner with Corporate Action Network, International Labor Rights Forum, Making Change at Walmart, SumOfUs, United Students Against Sweatshops, and Warehouse Workers United to call on U.S. brands and retailers to sign onto the game-changing, labor-supported fire safety agreement. Call on Walmart and all other Tazreen buyers to pay the compensation they owe to factory fire victims.

Stand with workers and demand respect, dignity and safe workplaces for all, from the factory floor to warehouses to the retail store. Turn out for a Tour event and have your voice heard.  read more.
CANactionCENTER

* Bangladesh fire survivor seeks compensation:

Sumi Abedin, who survived deadly Tazreen factory fire, lobbies for safer working conditions in her homeland

The Tazreen factory fire was one of Bangladesh’s worst manufacturing fires, killing more than 110 workers last November. An official inquiry found it was an act of sabotage.

Sumi Abedin was working in the factory when it caught fire. Now she has travelled to the United States to raise awareness of the working conditions in manufacturing factories in her homeland, and to ask for compensation. Here’s her story. (Video).
aljazeera

* Bangladesh Factory Fire Victim Calls On Walmart To Pay Compensation:

Sumi Abedin hasn’t worked a day since Nov. 24 of last year. That was when her workplace, Tazreen Fashions in Bangladesh, went up in flames, killing at least 112 workers. Abedin, 24, was brave enough to jump from the factory’s third floor, having found no other clear route to safety.

Still recovering from a broken leg and hand from the fall, Abedin has traveled from Bangladesh to Capitol Hill, hoping to pressure U.S. garment buyers to commit themselves to improving safety standards at workplaces in her homeland. She’s also here to demand that Walmart, which, among other retailers, had clothes manufactured at the facility, pay compensation to victims like herself and the families of those who died at Tazreen.

“I have come here to ensure safety at readymade garment factories,” Abedin, who ran a machine sewing pockets onto pants, told HuffPost in Bengali.
read more & see video.
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20130415

* Wal-Mart, Sears Refuse Compensation for Factory Victims:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) have so far declined to join Li & Fung Ltd. and other companies in voluntarily compensating victims of a fire last year at a Bangladesh garment factory.

Wal-Mart and Sears also didn’t respond to an invitation to attend a meeting today in Geneva, where companies whose clothing was manufactured at the Tazreen Design Ltd. factory are expected to discuss compensation payments, said Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, a Washington-based international labor-monitoring group.
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20130416

* European brands agree to compensate Tazreen victims:

Major European retailers C&A, KiK and El Corte Inglés will contribute to a compensation plan for the victims of the Tazreen Fashions fire in Bangladesh.

The brands made the commitment at a meeting held on 15 April in Geneva to discuss a 5.7 million USD compensation plan for the victims of the Tazreen Fashions fire in Bangladesh, which killed 112 workers and injured about 120 in November 2012.
The meeting was hosted by IndustriALL Global Union and attended by major European retailers, a leading Bangladesh trade unionist, the Clean Clothes Campaign and the Worker Rights Consortium.

In an outrageous display of indifference to the suffering of Bangladeshi families, major US corporations Walmart, Sears/Kmart and Disney refused to pay any compensation to the victims and failed to attend the meeting. Walmart was apparently the largest buyer from the Tazreen factory. The companies, which failed to enforce their own worker safety standards, have claimed to be deeply saddened by the deaths.
Major European retailers C&A (Netherlands), KiK (Germany) and El Corte Inglés (Spain) attended the meeting and agreed to make substantial contributions to the compensation plan for the families of the dead and for the injured. The Italian clothing brand Piazza Italia did not attend but has agreed to participate in the package.
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Home

* Walmart refuses to compensate Tazreen Fire Victims 1:

Three European retailers agree to contribute to compensation plan

A meeting was held on 15 April in Geneva to discuss a 5.7 million USD compensation plan for the victims of the Tazreen Fashions fire in Bangladesh, which killed 112 workers and injured about 120 in November 2012. The meeting was hosted by IndustriALL Global Union and attended by major European retailers, a leading Bangladesh trade unionist, the Clean Clothes Campaign and the Worker Rights Consortium.

In an outrageous display of indifference to the suffering of Bangladeshi families, major US corporations Walmart, Sears/Kmart and Disney, refused to pay any compensation to the victims and failed to attend the meeting. Walmart was apparently the largest buyer from the Tazreen factory. The companies which failed to enforce their own worker safety standards, have claimed to be deeply saddened by the deaths.

Major European retailers C&A (Netherlands), KiK (Germany) and El Corte Inglés (Spain) attended the meeting and agreed to make substantial contributions to the compensation plan for the families of the dead and for the injured. The Italian clothing brand Piazza Italia did not attend but has agreed to participate in the package.
“We have agreed on confirming the concrete amounts that each of these brands will contribute by the end of this month” says IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina. “The families and the injured have already waited far too long”.

Other companies that were sourcing from Tazreen and failed to attend include Hong Kong based trader Li & Fung, Teddy Smith (France), Edinborough Woolen Mills (UK), Dickies (US) and Karl Rieker (Germany).
Li & Fung has however agreed to paying compensations.

The compensation plan, developed by IndustriALL and its affiliates in Bangladesh and supported by international labor rights groups, is based on the compensation formula used in other recent fires. These include the December 2010 fire at That’s It Sportswear, a factory producing for Gap and other US brands, and the fire this January at Smart Export Garments, which was producing clothes for Inditex and
others. The details of the plan will be worked out in a subsequent meeting to be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Says Ineke Zeldenrust from Clean Clothes Campaign: We once again call upon Walmart and the other major companies sourcing from Tazreen to aid the families of the dead and the injured workers: “Their refusal to commit indicates a shocking lack of concern for the rights and well-being of the workers who make their clothes and who were injured or killed in the process”.
CCC

* Wal-Mart refuses to compensate Tazreen fire victims 2:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) have so far declined to join Li & Fung Ltd. and other companies in voluntarily compensating victims of a fire last year at a Bangladesh garment factory.

Wal-Mart and Sears also didn’t respond to an invitation to attend a meeting today in Geneva, where companies whose clothing was manufactured at the Tazreen Design Ltd. factory are expected to discuss compensation payments, said Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, a Washington-based international labor-monitoring group.
(…)
“At Wal-mart, our goal is to positively impact global supply chain practices by raising our own standards and by partnering with other stakeholders to improve the standards for workers across the industry,” Gardner said in an e-mailed statement.
(…)
The school will offer fire safety training to Bangladesh apparel manufacturers, Wal-Mart said in a news release.
Nova said the donation was “of dubious value” because many factories lack such basic features as fire escapes and that “$1.6 million is a meaningless sum relative to what is actually needed to make the industry safe.”
(…)
Li & Fung, (494) a Hong Kong-based exporter, has agreed to pay $1,280 to the family of each worker who died and to each injured worker via a fund set up by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

A separate foundation will fund the education of victims’ children, Katherine Wang, a company spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.
“We’re continuing our dialogue with the industry in Bangladesh to determine what else we can do to help,” Wang said.
European retailer C&A has donated $1,200 per family via its foundation, according to the Worker Rights Consortium. C&A also committed to providing monthly payments of $50 to the children of the dead, the group said.
Italian retailer Piazza Italia agreed to “participate fully in whatever compensation plan is agreed at the meeting” but declined to attend, Nova said.
C&A and Piazza Italia couldn’t be reached for comment.
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20130418

* ‘I Jumped to Save My Body’: Walmart Slammed Over Nicaragua Stabbings and Bangladesh Fire:


The Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire on November 30, 2012. (Reuters/Andrew Biraj)

Survivors of a factory fire in Bangladesh and an armed assault in Nicaragua both called this week for Walmart to crack down on abuses in its global supply chain.

Former garment worker Sumi Abedin, who jumped from a third story window to escape Bangladesh’s Tazreen factory, will lead a mock “funeral procession” tonight to the New York City home of Walmart board member Michele Burns. Tomorrow, students and other supporters will converge on the New York and Los Angeles offices of SAE-A, a Walmart contractor accused of fomenting violence against union activists.  Walmart did not respond to a request for comment on either case.
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20130419

* Families of each Tazreen fire victims will get Tk 0.1m more:

Families of each of the Tazreen fire victims will get Tk 0.1 million more from the Dutch fashion and retailer chain C&A, apparel sector leaders said Thursday.

The compensation will formally be handed over to 62 family members of the victims of country’s worst industrial blaze tomorrow (Saturday) at the BGMEA.  to read.

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20130421

* European retailer compensates families of Tazreen victims:

European retailer C&A Sourcing yesterday paid compensations to 67 families of the 112 garment workers killed in the November 24 blaze at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia.

Each family received Tk 1 lakh.
Labour and Employment Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju handed over cheques to the families of the victims, at a programme organised by Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association at its office in Dhaka.
After the fire, logos of different brands of C&A were found in the heap of ashes. The government has taken several steps to ensure safe working environment at every garment factory, the minister said.
The government will develop a 550-acre “garment village” in Munshiganj to ensure maximum safety with modern facilities for the workers, he said. “It is our responsibility to give compensations to the victims,” said Dinesh Perera, general manager of C&A Sourcing.
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* Bangladeshi Activists Bring Fight to Wal-Mart’s Doorstep:


At the site of an enormous factory fire in Bangladesh, a worker holds up a garment bearing Wal-Mart’s brand, “Faded Glory.” (Corporate Action Network)  

Wal-Mart’s business model runs on the art of delusion. Clean aisles and bright decor insulate customers from the unseemly factories that produce the brand’s sought-after bargains. But when Wal-Mart’s label was found plastered all over the charred remains of a massive factory fire in Bangladesh last fall, the ugliness at the root of the retail giant’s supply chain was exposed.

The company, however, continues to ignore victims’ demands for compensation, so Bangladeshi activists and their allies have brought their grievances to Wal-Mart’s doorstep in a 10-city U.S. tour.

In New York on Thursday, activists from the U.S. and Bangladesh rallied to demand compensation from Wal-Mart, Sears and other multinational companies that contracted with the Tazreen factory that burned down in November, killing 117 people. The stop was part of the multi-city tour coordinated by anti-sweatshop and labor groups to call on corporations to “End Death Traps.”  read more.
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20130425

* Survivor of Bangladesh’s Tazreen Factory Fire Urges U.S. Retailers to Stop Blocking Worker Safety:

This week’s Bangladeshi factory disaster comes five months after a massive fire killed at least 112 garment workers at Bangladesh’s Tazreen factory, which made clothing sold by Wal-Mart, among other companies.

Earlier this month, Wal-Mart refused to compensate victims and their families, even though it was apparently the factory’s largest buyer. We’re joined by Sumi Abedin, a worker who survived the Tazreen fire by jumping from the factory’s third story, breaking both her arm and foot in the process.
She is currently touring the United States to call on retailers like Wal-Mart, The GAP and Disney to take the lead on improving working conditions in Bangladesh. We also speak with Kalpona Akter of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity and Charlie Kernaghan of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.
read & see more -video-.
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20130428

* Writ filed for Tazreen owner’s arrest:

A writ petition was filed with the High Court seeking it’s directives to arrest the owner of Tazreen garment within seven days.

Nazneen Akter banu, Syeda Gulruk Kamal and Mahmudul Hasan filed the writ petition on Sunday.
Home secretary, Labor Secretary, BGMEA president, Inspector General of Police, Dhaka Metropolitan Deputy Commissioner of police, Savar zone assistant police super, Officer in-charge of Ashulia Police Station, owner of Tazreen Fashions, director general and deputy director  of Fire Service were made defendants to the writ.  read more. & read more.
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20130501

* Families of Tazreen fire victims demand compensation:

The families of Tazreen fire victims on Tuesday expressed frustration over non-payment of compensation even after five months of the blaze that left 112 workers killed at Tazreen Fashions Limited at Savar.

At a protest rally outside Jurain graveyard, 37 families, whose relatives were buried there, demanded compensation from the government.
The families of the victims organised the protests in collaboration with Garments Sramik Oikyo Forum and Activist Anthropologist.
A fire broke out at Tazreen Fashions Limited at Ashulia of Savar on November 24, 2012 that left 112 workers killed and scores injured.
Just five months after the Tazreen fire, eight-storey Rana Plaza at Savar, which housed five garments factories and a market, collapsed on April 24, leaving about 400 killed and scores injured, said the speakers at the rally. read more.

20130519

 * Tazreen owner can`t go abroad: HC:

The High Court on Sunday directed the government to take necessary steps to bar Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tazreen Fashion, from leaving the country for abroad.

An HC bench comprising Justice kazi Rezaul Haq and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain passed the order.
The court also summoned him on May 30 and asked Home Ministry’s probe body to submit report. read more.
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* HC orders arrest of Tazreen owner:

The High Court on Sunday directed the government to immediately arrest the owner of Tazreen Fashion Ltd and produce him before it on May 30 to explain his stance on the factory fire incident that left 112 people dead in November last year.

The HC came with the direction in response to a writ petition and also asked the government to issue red alert at all the land ports and airports of the country so that Delwar Hossain, the owner of the factory, could not leave the country.
The HC bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain also issued a rule upon the government to explain in four weeks why it should not be directed to arrest Delwar for his alleged negligence in protecting the garments workers from fire. read more.
daily star bd

* Arrest Tazreen owner forthwith: HC:

The High Court on Sunday asked the government to immediately arrest the owner of Tazreen Fashions Ltd and produce him before it on May 30 in connection with the fire incident at the factory that killed 112 of its workers in November last year.

Passing the order, the HC bench comprising Justice Quazi Rezaul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain also issued a rule upon the government to explain in four weeks as to why it should not be directed to arrest Tazreen owner Delwar Hossain for his alleged negligence in protecting the workers from the fire.
It also asked the government to explain its inaction in taking legal action against the factory owner after the fire incident.
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20130529

* Victim’s brother sues Tazreen owner, 30 others:

The family of one of the victims of fire at Tazreen Fashions sued the owner of the garment factory and 30 others on Wednesday for the deadly fire.

Complainant Abdul Matin is the brother of Rehena Begum who used to work as a packer at finishing section of the factory as the November 24 fire swept through the building at Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital, leaving 112 workers dead and 12 others missing.
Rehena is still missing.
In the case filed with the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court of Dhaka, the complainant blamed Tazreen owner Delwar Hossain and 30 others unnamed ones for setting fire to the factory.
The unnamed 30 include people involved in running the factory and some others of the garments owners’ association for the deadly fire.
read more. & read more.
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20130530

* HC asks to submit report on June 9:

The High Court on Thursday asked the authorities concerned to submit the probe report in Tazreen Fashion Fire.

The court also asked Tazreen Fashions Ltd owner Delwar Hossain to appear before the court on the same day.
An HC bench comprising Kazi Rezaul Haque and Justice ABM Latif passed the order when Delwar Hossain appeared before the court.
On May 19, High Court directed the government to take necessary steps to bar Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tazreen Fashion, from leaving the country for abroad.
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* HC asks for govt probe report on June 9:

The High Court on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction with the home ministry’s failure to submit the government’s probe report on the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited in Ashulia on November 24 last year that had left 112 workers dead.

Expressing its dismay, the bench of Justice Quazi Rezaul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain again asked home secretary CQK Mustaq Ahmed to submit the investigation report on June 9.
The bench also asked Tazreen Fashions owner and managing director Md Delwar Hossain, who appeared before the court on Thursday to comply with its May 19 order, to be present at the hearing on June 9.
Tazreen victim Rehana’s brother Abdul Matin on Wednesday filed a complaint with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate accusing Delwar Hossain and unnamed 20 men of killing workers in the fire.
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20130609

* Collect DNA of 37 families: HC:

The High Court on Sunday directed the authority concerned to carry out the DNA tests of families of 37 missing victims’ of Tazreen Fashion fire.

An HC bench comprising Justice Kazi Reza-Ul Haque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain passed the order in presence of Tazreen Fashion owner Delwar Hossain.
Inspector General of Police was asked to submit progress report within June 19 and Delwar Hossain was also asked to appear before the court on the same day.
Delwar Hossain said before the court, “In two phases, 98 families of the victims were compensated, but due to unidentified DNA, rest others were not given compensation.”
read more.
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* 37 Tazreen workers still missing:

HC asks for police report on June 19

A writ petition submitted to the High Court has claimed that 37 garment workers are still missing since the deadly Tazreen fire on November 24 last year.

After the hearing on the petition yesterday, the High Court directed the inspector general of police to get DNA tests of the relatives of the missing people done and to submit a report to it on June 19.
The home ministry and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in December last year said the inferno at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia had killed at least 112 people and injured many others.
Anthropologists Naznin Akter Banu, Saydia Gulrukh Kamal and Mahmudul Hasan Sumon on April 28 filed the petition with the HC along with a list of the names and addresses of the 37 missing people. They sought directives on the government to arrest the owner of the Tazreen garment, Delwar Hossain, and punish him.
Jyotirmoy Barua, a lawyer for the petitioners, said his clients had collected the names of the missing people from their relatives.
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20130612

* Negligence unpardonable:

Home probe suggests trial of owner

A government body to probe last year’s devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd in Ashulia has found “unpardonable neglect” on the part of the owner but said the incident might have been “subversive”.

The fire at Tazreen in Ashulia on November 24 last year killed at least 112 people and injured many others.
The committee, formed by the home ministry, recommended that Md Delwar Hossain, owner of the factory, be tried under Section 304 (A) of the Penal Code, which hands down only five years’ imprisonment as maximum punishment.
Delwar, the managing director of the garment factory, ruled out his responsibility in connection with the fire and claimed he was innocent. He told The Daily Star that law enforcers had not arrested him as there were no specific charges against him.
Some of the security workers were responsible for the disaster and they were absconding, he added.
The home ministry recently sent its probe report to the Office of the Attorney General for submission before the High Court on June 19.
read more.
daily star bd

* Bangladeshi in hiding after case on factory blaze:

A Bangladeshi said Wednesday he feared for his life after filing legal action over a fire that ripped through a garment factory last year and killed 111 workers.

Motiqul Islam Matin filed a court case last month against the owner of the Tazreen Fashion factory after his sister was among those killed in the blaze on the outskirts of the capital.
The court ordered police to investigate the complaint against the owner and his managers, but the probe was halted last week after the officer investigating the case was transferred, police said.
Matin, 22, said he has started receiving death threats from unknown callers since lodging the case and has been forced to go into hiding.
“They (the callers) asked who had given me the courage to lodge the complaint. They said they would find out my whereabouts and kill me,” he told AFP by phone.
read more.
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20130620

* HC asks chief inspector of factories, BGMEA to report on compensations to Tazreen fire victims:

The High Court on Wednesday directed the Chief Inspector of factories and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exports Association to submit a report to it by July 18 on compensating injured workers and families of deceased workers in the deadly fire incident of Tazreen Fashions Limited.

The HC also wanted to know from the chief inspector Md Moshiur Rahman and the BGMEA president Md Atiqul Islam the criteria that were followed while allocating compensations to the Tazreen victims, our staff correspondent reported.
The fire service department was also asked to report to the court by July 18 about its actions after the fire in the apparel factory on November 24, 2012, which caused deaths of 112 workers due to ‘negligence of the factory owner Md Delwar Hossain’.
The bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain passed the order after deputy attorney general Biswojit Roy submitted before the bench the government probe committee report over the Tazreen fire.
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20130629

* CID yet to complete Tazreen fire probe:

Seven months have passed since a deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia killed 112 people in November last year, but Criminal Investigation Department is yet to complete the investigation into a criminal case filed after the blaze.

Investigators have so far arrested the factory owner among 12 people in the case.
‘Our investigation is yet to be completed…We cannot say exactly when it will be completed,’ the CID’s senior assistant superintendent Mansur Ali Mandal, also the case investigator, told New Age.
Police sources said that the investigation officer was busy attending trainings rather than making time for the investigation.
‘Recently I attended a training on arson investigation,’ he Mansur said.
Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure stated that every investigation should be completed without unnecessary delay.
When asked about the delay, he claimed, ‘We are taking expert opinions on the technical issues relating to the structural design of the building.’
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20130719

* Court asks for Ashulia police report on Tazreen fire:

A judicial magistrate in Dhaka on Thursday asked the Ashulia police to submit investigate and submit a report on September 9 in a case the brother of an apparel worker filed in May against the Tazreen Fashions owner and 30 other executives.

Senior judicial magistrate Toyebul Hasan, on May 29 when the brother of the worker, who went missing in the fire that killed 112 people in November 2012, filed the murder case against the factory management, asked the Ashulia police to submit the investigation report in the case on July 18.
The May 29 court order was caught in a ‘bureaucratic process’ as the order was sent to the Ashulia police in the name of the then inspector (investigation) Mustafa Kamal, who was transferred to the Savar police on June 3.
The Ashulia police officer-in-charge, SM Badrul Alam, told New Age that they were yet to investigate the matter as the order was meant for the then inspector (investigation).
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20130721

* HC for compensation report by Jul 28:

The High Court on Sunday directed to submit report by July 28 with in detail over compensation provided to the victims of Tazreen Fashion fire.

An HC bench comprising Justice Kazi Rezaul Haq and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain passed the order.
Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exporters Association (BGMEA) and chief factory investigation officer of Ministry of Industries were asked to submit the reports mentioning in detail who were given compensation with how much money.
The fire service and civil defense also ordered to submit reports about their activities during the deadly fire.
Delwar Hossain, owner of the Tazreen Fashions, was present before the court during the hearing.
On April 28, a writ petition was filed with the High Court seeking arrest of the owner of Tazreen Fashions Limited for his ignorance.
A devastating fire broke out at the Tazreen Fashions Ltd and killed 112 people in November of 2012.
to read. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
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* Govt, BGMEA warned over inaction:

The High Court yesterday once again expressed its dissatisfaction with the government and the BGMEA for their failure to submit before it the reports on compensations given to the Tazreen fire victims.

The court also showed its disappointment, as it was yet to get the DNA test reports of relatives of the people who went missing in the fire incident on November 24 last year.
During a hearing on a writ petition, the HC ordered the government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association to submit the reports on July 28.
The court said it would take actions against the government and the BGMEA officials concerned if they fail to submit the reports on the day.
On June 19, the HC ordered secretaries to the ministries of home, and labour, the inspector general of police, and the president of the BGMEA to   submit the reports on July 18.
In this regard, Deputy Attorney General Bishwojit Roy told the court that his office had not got any reports from the government or the BGMEA, and none of them had contacted his office.
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20130728

* 48 global retailers to meet in Dhaka:

Compensation packages for Rana Plaza and Tazreen victims will be fixed

Forty-eight international clothing retailers and brands will hold meetings in Dhaka next month to fix compensation packages for the victims of Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen fire incident.

Sixteen retailers and brands will fix such packages for the Tazreen victims on August 11, and 32 will sit for Rana Plaza victims on the following day.
Initiated by IndustriALL Global Union, the meetings will take place in the city’s Sonargaon Hotel.
As per the charter of demand, every victim of the two tragedies will receive Tk 5 lakh, Roy Ramesh Chandra, general secretary of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, told The Daily Star yesterday.
According to Section 121 of the International Labour Organisation, relatives of a dead worker will receive 50 percent of the salaries, which the worker was drawing at the time of his/her death, for the next 25 years with an annual inflation of 7 percent, Chandra said.
The relatives will also receive 10 percent of the dead worker’s salaries for their children’s education cost, he said.
read more.
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20130729

* HC kept in wait:

Not even the High Court’s repeated expressions of disappointment could make powerful public and private organisations respond in time to its directives in the public litigation case relating to last year’s Tazreen Fashions fire.

Anthropologists Naznin Akter Banu, Saydia Gulrukh Kamal and Mahmudul Hasan Sumon filed the litigation on April 28, seeking directives on the government to arrest Tazreen owner Md Delwar Hossain to ensure his trial for criminal liabilities.
The HC bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain has been dealing with this case since May and at every proceeding, it had to struggle to get reports from government or private organisations.
The deadliest factory fire in the nation’s history burned to death at least 112 garment workers and injured many others at the Ashulia-based Tazreen Fashions on November 24 last year.
After repeated directives for over a month, the law officer submitted the home ministry probe report on June 19, although it was prepared in December and the ministry is just a 20-minute walk from the court.
Also on June 19, the HC directed the labour ministry and Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to submit separate reports on the compensation disbursed to the fire victims. The same day, it also asked the inspector general of police (IGP) to place the DNA test report of relatives of those who went missing in the incident.
July 18 was the deadline for all the submissions.
But none of the government and private offices responded to the directives as the court sat on July 21 instead of July 18 due to a hartal.
read more.
daily star bd

* HC criticises IGP for missing Tazreen DNA report deadline:

The High Court has issued a new deadline to the inspector general of police (IGP) to submit the report on DNA testing of Tazreen fire victims, warning that this will be the last extension.

While setting September 17 as the new deadline for submission yesterday, the High Court cautioned that there would be no further extensions. It observed that the IGP was unduly delaying the DNA testing and the submission of its report.
A two-member bench comprising Justice Rezaul Haque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain issued the order. Tazreen Fashions owner Delwar Hossain was present in the court during the hearing.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

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* RMG disaster victims’ lives a ‘nightmare’:

Sumaya, a worker of Tazreen Fashions, received a blunt head trauma on the night the factory burnt down. Afterwards for several days, she was bleeding through the nose.

On July 4, eight months after the incident, doctors at Dhaka Medical College Hospital diagnosed her with exophthalmos, a swelling of the eye which is common among patients suffering from blunt head traumas. On July 14, she had a surgery. Further diagnosis suggested that she had developed a tumour which was cancerous.

Three months after the collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar on April 24, in which over 1,100 workers died and 2,500 others were injured, many survivors and even the rescue workers are facing post-traumatic problems.

Rubina Begum, who worked at one of the factories in Rana Plaza for two years, is suffering from a serious pelvic fracture. She has been unable to work and has been told by doctors that she may never engage in strenuous activities, such as intercourse. Speaking to our correspondent, Rubina expressed her fear that she would be “neither valued as a worker nor as a wife.”
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Cancer diagnosis worsens plight of Tazreen worker:

The tragedy that befell Sumaya, one of the workers who managed to escape alive from the inferno that engulfed the Tazreen Fashions factory in Ashulia last November, has taken another turn for the worse, with a diagnosis of cancer that may be linked to the toxic fumes she inhaled during the fire, reports UNB.

When you meet her, the first impression you get of the young girl barely out of her teens is possibly not unlike that of millions of others like her who form the backbone of the country’s garment industry.

Having entered the workforce at the age of 11, she already exudes the world-weariness of one whose experiences belie her age. She can also be quite chatty when in the mood, and is touchingly hospitable to those who visit her hard-won bed at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, offering mangoes from her village in Mymensingh.
read more. & read more.
UNB

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20130807-11 * Bangladesh Factory Victims Wait as Compensation Meeting Delayed:

A meeting to determine compensation for victims of two factory disasters in Bangladesh was postponed until September after a union official fell ill, workers threatened to strike in Dhaka and European brands balked at attending over the summer.

“We thought it was a better solution to do this in Europe in September,” IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina, who is organizing the meeting, said by phone. “The problem is Rana Plaza workers and families aren’t receiving money, so it’s not as it should be.” The initial meeting to aid victims of the Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen factory fire was planned for Aug. 11 and 12 in Dhaka.
The union and the Clean Clothes campaign want retailers including Benetton Group SA, Mango and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) to agree to a lump sum payment for pain and suffering as well as lost earnings for the victims and dependents of those involved in the disasters.
IndustriALL estimates the long-term compensation cost will be $71 million for the Rana Plaza collapse, where 1,131 people were killed in the nation’s worst industrial accident, and $5.7 million for the Tazreen garment factory fire, which killed 112.
read more. & read more.
BLOOMBERG  DHAKATRIBUNE

20130809 * Bangladesh compensation meetings rescheduled:

The two compensation meetings for the victims and their families of the tragedies of Tazreen and Rana Plaza in Bagladesh planned to be held on August 11 and 12, have been postponed until September.

The meetings aim to put together a full and fair compensation package for all the victims and their families, and were to take place in Dhaka in August. After rescheduling the meetings will now be held in Geneva in September. The exact date has yet to be decided.

“With the sudden illness of a key union official and a strike threat in Bangladesh, we feel that the meetings will be more fruitful at a later date,” says IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina. “All major brands and signatories are invited and we are expecting a high level of attendance.”

Responsibility is shared between the brands and retailers sourcing from Tazreen and Rana Plaza, the factory owners, the BGMEA employers association, and the Bangladeshi government. The aim is to employ the industry’s best practice compensation mechanism that was developed after the Spectrum factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2005. That formula is in line with ILO Convention 121 on employment injury benefits.
read more.
Home

20130812 * Meeting to fix compensation package for Tazreen, Rana Plaza victims due next month:

The scheduled meeting to determine compensation for victims of Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters this month has been postponed until September and is now due to be held in Geneva. But the date of meeting is yet to be fixed.

“Due to sudden illness of a key union official and a strike threat in Bangladesh, we feel that the meeting will be more fruitful at a later date,” said industrial General Secretary Jyrki Raina in a statement published on its website.
“All major brands and signatories are invited and we are expecting a high level of attendance,” he added.

“Because of my sudden illness, the scheduled meeting was postponed,” Roy Ramesh Chandra, general secretary of Industry — All Bangladesh Council told the FE.
Responsibility is shared between the brands and retailers sourcing from Tazreen and Rana Plaza, the factory owners, the BGMEA employers association, and the Bangladeshi government, the statement said.
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20130817 how much longer! 20

* Benetton and Mango: come to Bangladesh, and pay compensation!:

Recently, we asked you to call on Benetton and Mango to go to the Tazreen and Rana Plaza compensation meetings in Bangladesh because the right to fair compensation ‘unites all people’.

Both brands are getting the message LOUD and CLEAR; thousands of supporters are posting their concerns on their Facebook pages.

Benetton and Mango have not yet agreed to attend the meetings. These are well-known European brands. They can afford to make sure these families don’t continue to suffer.

Unfortunately, due to sudden ill health of IndustriALL’s Bangladesh representative, the meetings scheduled for August 11 and 12 have been postponed until September. This doesn’t mean we let the brands off the hook. Keep pushing Benetton  and Mango to attend the meetings and pay compensation. If you have a Twitter account, click here and leave your message automatically. You can of course also leave your own  message at @mango and @benetton.

United colours, united responsibility! @Benetton and @Mango, pay full #compensation now!
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20130906

* Geneva meet to fix compensation for RMG victims of Tazreen and Rana Plaza:

ILO facilitates global brands’ meeting Sept 11-12

An international meeting to determine compensation for readymade garment (RMG) victims of Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters will be held in Geneva on September 11 and 12.

The meeting will focus on development of a collaborative process for determining the amount of compensation and the process of distributing those to those whose family life, economic well-being and health have been severely shattered as a result of these tragedies. The process will draw on an existing framework established following previous tragedies in the Bangladeshi garment industry.

Earlier the meeting was scheduled to be held in Dhaka on August 11 and 12 but was deferred due to sudden illness of a key union official and a strike threat in Bangladesh.
The first meeting will discuss compensation for the Tazreen victims while the second for the Rana Plaza and will seek to achieve proper compensation payments to the victims and survivors of the two industrial accidents, a statement issued by IndustriALL Global Union said Wednesday.
(…)
In an another statement, Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC)– the largest global alliance of labour unions in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector– said the CCC is increasing its pressure on Benetton, Mango and other fashion brands to pay full and fair compensation to victims of the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh.
All brands, including Walmart, which are linked to the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters are being called to attend the meetings.
read more.

* RMG victims compensation talks in Geneva next week:

The meetings will seek to achieve proper compensation payments to the victims and survivors of the two industrial accidents

Bangladesh compensation meetings, aiming to provide compensation package for victims of Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen fire incidents, will be held on Wednesday and Thursday next in Geneva.

The meetings will seek to achieve proper compensation payments to the victims and survivors of the two industrial accidents, said a statement of IndustriALL Global Union.
“IndustriALL is working hard to get brands and retailers that sourced from Tazreen and Rana Plaza to participate in talks,” it reads.
The meetings will be hosted and neutrally chaired by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
“The message to brands from IndustriALL will be clear,” stated IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Monika Kemperle.
read more.
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20130907

* CCC, brands sit in Geneva Sept 11-12 to set compensation:

Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriALL Global Union, the two largest global alliances of labour unions in the clothing sector, are going to sit with all the brands that were linked to the Tazreen and Rana Plaza factories on September 11 and 12 to fix the compensation package for the  victims.

Representatives of the Bangladesh government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exports Association have also been invited to attend the meeting to be facilitated by International Labour Organisation as a neutral and independent chair, the CCC said in a statement.
The Tazreen fire killed at least 112 RMG workers on November 24 last year and the Rana Plaza building collapse killed at least 1,133 workers on April 24.
‘A small amount of compensation has been paid to the victims in both cases which is insufficient and the information on who has received what is uncoordinated and lacking in transparency,’ the CCC said on its website.
The CCC expects the brands to make commitments to paying compensation and to collectively develop a mechanism with other stakeholders that will ensure the money is transparently distributed, so as to ensure the people affected can restart their lives, the statement said.
read more.
BD new age

* Global retailers urged to compensate Tazreen, Rana Plaza victims fairly:

All brands, including Walmart, who are linked to the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters are being called on to attend the meetings on compensation in Geneva

The Clean Clothes Campaign is increasing its pressure on Benetton, Mango and other fashion brands to pay full and fair compensation to victims of Tazreen fire and the collapse of Rana Plaza that housed five garments.

All brands, including Walmart, who are linked to the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters are being called on to attend the meetings on compensation in Geneva on September 11 (Tazreen) and 12 (Rana Plaza) convened by IndustriALL Global Union.
(…)

Consumers from all over Europe are using social media to call on Mango and Benetton to come to the compensation meeting and pay Rana Plaza survivors, according to a Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) press release.
However, BGMEA Vice-President Reaz Bin Mahmood said they would not join the meeting, which he said was “meant for the retailers and the buyers.”
Moreover, the BGMEA was not invited to the meeting, he claimed.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE+++++++++++++++++20130908

* Leading brands may announce compensation package for Rana Plaza victims:

An international trade union in its efforts to create a US$76.7 million compensation package for the victims of recent industrial disasters in Bangladesh has convened a meeting of leading brands and retailers in Geneva this week.

The meeting, to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, is likely to be attended specially by those reputed firms that procure their merchandise from Bangladesh garment factories, said the Copenhagen-based IndustriAll Global Union, an organisation dedicated to protect rights of workers.

To be presided over by a senior official of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as a neutral and independent participant, the meeting besides realising commitment from the individual brands and retailers will also try to develop a mechanism to ensure quick and transparent distribution of the compensation amount to the real victims of the two recent most deadly industrial disasters, said the Union in a statement on its website.
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20130910

* Brands Failing Victims of Bangladesh Disasters:

* Over twenty brands refuse discuss compensation for dead and injured   workers
* Twelve brands committed to attend meetings
* Clean Clothes Campaign urges all, including Walmart, Benetton and
Mango to attend

The Clean Clothes Campaign welcomes the news that 12 brands have agreed to attend meetings in Geneva to discuss the provision of long term compensation to the victims of the Rana Plaza and Tazreen factory diasters in Bangladesh. However it remains shocked at the refusal of over twenty others to take responsibility. It calls
on the remaining brands, including Wlamart, Benetton and Mango to reconsider and take part in the negotiations.

The meetings have been called by the global union IndustriALL and will be hosted by the International Labour Organisation, who will also act as a neutral chair. The participants will discuss the setting up of a fund to pay out compensation to those families affected by the fire at Tazreen Fashions in November 2012 and the collapse of five garment factories housed at the Rana Plaza building in April 2013.
The compensation amounts under discussion should cover payment for pain and suffering, loss of income, educational costs for children who lost parents and medical expenses.
It is expected that funds will be contributed by all stakeholders including brands, the industry and the Bangladesh government.

”It is now almost nine months since the fire at Tazreen and five months since the collapse at Rana Plaza,” said Ineke Zeldenrust of the Clean Clothes Campaign. “Those families affected are struggling to cope in the aftermath of these disasters and we are hearing daily of families at risk of losing their homes and struggling to get the medical and psychological treatment they need. The issue of compensation is urgent and pressing and we hope for a constructive meeting and a positive outcome for these workers and their families.”

A number of brands and retailers have, to date, refused to accept responsibility for the fate of the workers killed and injured in the two disasters. Walmart, which was linked to both Tazreen and Rana Plaza, has yet to make any commitment to the payment of compensation in either case. Benetton and Mango, both of whom had orders at factories housed in Rana Plaza have also remained silent on whether
they will attend the meeting.

 ”These workers risked their lives earning a pittance to make clothes for Walmart, Benetton and Mango,” added Zeldenrust.
“As a result they have lost their jobs, their health and in the worst cases their lives. The least these brands can do now is commit to paying what is needed for these families to start rebuilding their future. We urge all of them to take responsibility for the lives ruined by these disasters and to attend the meetings this week.”
to read.
&
Update on brands associated with Tazreen and Rana Plaza and compensation.
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20130911

* Compensation to BD RMG disaster victims- 12 brands agree to meet in Geneva, 20 others refuse:

Twelve brands have agreed to attend meetings in Geneva to discuss the provision for offering long-term compensation to the victims of Rana Plaza and Tazreen factory disasters in Bangladesh. Over twenty others have refused to take responsibility.

The meetings to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, called by the global union IndustriALL, will be hosted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which will also act as a neutral chair.

The first meeting will discuss compensation for the Tazreen Fashions victims, while the second one will have focus on the Rana Plaza, a statement issued by Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) — the largest global alliance of labour unions in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector, said Monday.

The brands which agreed to attend the meetings are C&A(NL), El Corte Ingles (ES) and Karl Rieker (DE) to talk on Tazreen, and Bonmarché (UK), Camaieu (FR), El Corte Ingles (ES), Inditex (ES), Loblaw (CA), Mascot (DK), Matalan (UK), Primark (UK) and Store Twenty One (UK) will discuss the case of Rana Plaza.

The CCC called on the remaining brands, including Walmart, Benetton and Mango, to reconsider their stance and take part in the negotiations.
read more.

* Most brands staying away as meeting begins in Geneva today:

More than twenty clothing brands have refused to discuss with Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriALL Global Union, two largest global alliances of labour unions in the clothing sector, over setting compensation package for the victims of Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza collapse in a meeting that begins today in Geneva.

The CCC and the IndustriALL Global Union are organising the two-day meeting with the global brands which had business link with Tazreen Fashions and factories housed in Rana Plaza.
Only 12 brands have pledged to attend the meeting, the CCC said in a statement posted on its web site on Monday.
The statement said the meeting was called mainly by the global union IndustriALL and would be hosted by the International Labour Organisation, which would also act as a neutral chair.
read more.
BD new age

* Garment makers to discuss Bangladesh compensation:

Some of the world’s major garment makers are to meet to discuss compensation for workers injured and killed in accidents in Bangladesh, reported BBC.

They are to work out details of damages for those affected by accidents including the collapse in April of the Rana Plaza building.
More than 1,200 people died and 2,500 were injured in the disaster.
BBC also reported trades unions say many families of those killed in the Rana Plaza collapse are now struggling to survive.
The meeting will also discuss compensation for victims of other accidents, including the fire at Tazreen Fashions in the capital Dhaka last November, in which over 100 people died.
The two-day meeting in Geneva has been called by the global trade union IndustriALL.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
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20130913

* Retailers discuss compensation for BD factory disaster victims:

A dozen retailers and clothing brands are meeting in Geneva to discuss providing compensation to the victims of the Rana Plaza and Tazreen factory disasters in Bangladesh, although several companies were noticeable by their absence.
The talks, chaired by the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, are aimed at setting up funds to compensate the victims of both the Rana Plaza disaster in April, when an eight-storey building collapsed, killing 1,129 people, and the fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in November, 2012 that killed 112 workers.
(…)
“The families and the injured have already waited far too long,” said Monika Kemperle, assistant general secretary of the IndustriALL international trade union federation that is coordinating the talks.
“Companies who are serious about conditions in their Bangladeshi production chain can send a clear sign of their sincerity at these meetings,” she said in a statement.
read more.

* Retailers’ meet begins in Geneva to negotiate $77mn compensation:

A dozen global retailers began two days of meetings in Geneva has begun to negotiate a $77 million compensation package for the victims of two Bangladesh garment factory accidents, as labor unions pressed the companies for payments that would acknowledge their responsibility for the country’s worst facilities.

Companies including Primark, part of Associated British Foods PLC and German discounter KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH—all of which had clothes that were made at one of the stricken plants—are attending the meetings at the International Labour Organization, said the companies and organizers, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Many other major retailers with manufacturing links to the factories aren’t participating, including Benetton SpA and Mango MNG Holding SL, organizers said. The most notable absentee was Wal-Mart Stores Inc., one of the biggest buyers of clothes made in Bangladesh.

The meeting escalates the debate over who should bear responsibility for accidents that result from flawed manufacturing standards.

Some companies are reluctant to make payments to victims of those accidents that could acknowledge their responsibility—and open themselves to lawsuits—for events they believe they couldn’t control. Some labor groups counter that apparel companies are broadly responsible even if they weren’t producing in the factories at the time of the disasters.
(…)

Wal-Mart acknowledges some of its clothes were at the Tazreen factory, at the time of the November fire. It also said its clothes had previously been made in the Rana Plaza building but that it didn’t have production at the time of the disaster. In both cases, Wal-Mart said, its clothes were at the factories without its knowledge via unauthorized subcontracting.

The retailer wouldn’t say whether it will pay compensation to the families of the workers who died at Tazreen and declined to make its sourcing executives available for comment. “We are focused on investing our resources in proactive programs that will address fire safety in the garment and textile industry in Bangladesh and prevent fires before they happen,” said Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner.

Paying compensation implies greater responsibility than underwriting building repairs, labor activists say.

“A lot of brands want to be associated with prevention, but not with reparation,” says Ineke Zeldenrust, the lead coordinator at the Clean Clothes Campaign, a garment workers’ rights group.
read more.
UNB

MUST WAIT

A disappointing outcome, as many brands fail to live up to their responsability and leave Bangladeshi victims and their relatives in the cold.

  • Eleven brands join discussions on compensation to victims of Bangladesh factory disasters.
  • Other key brands turn their back on workers’ plight.
  • Some advance payments agreed

Eleven of the brands and retailers sourcing from the factories involved in the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters joined high-level compensation meetings, facilitated by the ILO as a neutral chair, on 11-12 September in Geneva.

Many other major companies failed to attend, showing total contempt for the 1,900 workers who were injured and the families of over 1,200 workers who were killed making their products.

IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary Monika Kemperle stated: “Consumers will be shocked that almost a half-year has passed since the Rana Plaza disaster with only one brand so far providing any compensation to the disaster’s victims. I respect those brands that came to these meetings. But I cannot understand brands that are not around the table.” 

Regarding Rana Plaza out of a total of 29 brands that were invited the following 9 brands showed good faith by attending the meeting: Bon Marché, Camaieu, El Corte Ingles, Kik, Loblaw, Mascot, Matalan, Primark, Store Twenty One.

20 other companies, all of whom were invited, failed to show up: Adler, Auchan, Benetton, C&A, Carrefour, Cato Corp, The Children’s Place, Dressbarn, Essenza, FTA International, Gueldenpfennig, Iconix Brand, Inditex, JC Penney, Kids Fashion Group, LPP, Mango, Manifattura Corona, NKD, Premier Clothing, PWT Group, Texman and Walmart.

IndustriALL, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) presented a proposed model for compensation, which has been used by brands and retailers in previous factory disasters in Bangladesh. The model includes payment for pain and suffering and loss of income. For Rana Plaza US$74,571,101 would be needed to provide full compensation to all workers, of which the brands are being asked to contribute US$ 33,556,996. For Tazreen US$6,442,000 is required, with US$2,899,000 being asked from the brands.
(…)

Bangladeshi workers and victim’s families hoping for immediate aid will be disappointed. Brands’ commitments after two days were limited to:

  1. Meeting again within the next two weeks to share information and tools, exchange views, and consider next steps.
  2. To contribute financially to a fund to assist injured workers and victims’ families, and commit to move the process of establishing the fund forward quickly.  A coordination committee was created to take the process forward through a multi-stakeholder forum which would be open to the Bangladesh government and employers, together with the brands and retailers, unions and NGOs.
  3. Commitment to coordinated work going forward, building on initial assistance U.K. retailer Primark has already provided to victims. Primark made available their local banking infrastructure in Bangladesh to deliver any funds that are made available on an emergency basis.

Immediately after the meeting Primark committed to providing a further three months salary to all affected families as emergency relief. Unfortunately, none of the other brands or retailers present at the meeting committed to provide such emergency relief.

ZM Kamrul Anam of the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council called on brands to act swiftly:
“We appreciate Primark having already made a three month salary payment to the injured and victims’ families. But when I go back to Bangladesh they will ask me what more was decided here.
Those families need food, medicene and housing.
Please, all brands and retailers, match that three months salary for these people in urgent need. Some time can be expected to establish a sustainable solution, but an immediate payment to help these families must be made now.”

At the Tazreen compensation meeting on the previous day, C&A tabled its substantial compensation initiative for the victims and demonstrated its continued commitment to finding a definitive solution. Karl Rieker, which was also in attendance also signaled a readiness to contribute and was commended for positive participation in the Tazreen discussion.

Of the brands and retailers invited to the Tazreen process the following companies failed to participate in the 11 September meeting:
Delta Apparel, Dickies, Disney, El Corte Inglés, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, Kik, Li & Fung, Piazza Italia, Sean John, Sears, Teddy Smith, and Walmart.

IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Monika Kemperle stated:
“The disregard of the absent brands for the plight of workers in Bangladesh whose lives have been destroyed by the avoidable accidents at Tazreen and Rana Plaza is shocking in the extreme. Empty promises and direct untruths since the Tazreen fire and the Rana Plaza collapse all so that these Western multinationals can avoid making payments that amount to a minute percentage of turnover.”

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings stated:
“Walmart is the world’s largest retailer and one of the largest buyers from Bangladesh. They should be a leader in taking responsibility for their global supply chain. Once again Walmart had failed to make a commitment to the workers in Bangladesh who produce the millions of garments sold around the world at large profit.”

Clean Clothes Campaign’s Ineke Zeldenrust stated:
“CCC will continue to put pressure on those brands who have not yet committed to immediately and actively engage in the negotiation process and commit to providing sufficient funds to meet the amounts needed to provide the workers and their families with the compensation they are entitled to under international standards.”

Worker Rights Consortium Executive Director Scott Nova added,
“It is past time that the victims of the worst industrial disaster in history and their families receive assistance from the international brands and retailers that profited from these workers’ labor. It is shocking that not only have hardly any brands committed to any concrete level of assistance, but even more so that most of the companies implicated in the disaster did not even bother to show up to discuss helping the victims.”
read more. & read more.
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* Primark pledges more compensation:

Primark has pledged to pay three months more emergency aid to the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse which killed over 1,100 people.

More than 1,100 people were killed and more than 2,500 injured after the eight-storey Rana Plaza factory building near Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed on April 24.
The retailer revealed that only nine out of the 28 brands who used the factory attended a meeting on long term recovery in Geneva on September 12.
to read.
BANGLA NEWS24

* Bangladesh factory compensation talks fail: organisers:

A two-day meeting of high street clothing brands and pressure groups aimed at reaching a compensation deal for victims of two Bangladesh factory disasters ended Thursday in failure, organisers said.

The Geneva talks came after a building housing garment factories collapsed in Bangladesh in April, killing more than 1,100 people. They were aimed at agreeing compensation for the families of those victims and those of other factory disasters.
The disaster placed the international spotlight on the often appalling conditions and the lack of rights for workers at the country’s 4,500 garment factories, and retailers responded with a pledge to improve safety.

But the campaign groups that organised the meeting said only around a third of the firms invited had even turned up, with key names including Walmart, Benetton and Mango staying away.
Primark was the only clothing retailer to make a concrete commitment at the meeting, vowing to provide a further three months salary to families affected by the Rana Plaza factory collapse.
The 11 brands that made an appearance were mainly European and also included Bon Marche, Camaieu and Store Twenty One.

“We are disappointed that they didn’t commit to an amount,” said Ineke Zeldenrust, international coordinator at the Clean Clothes Campaign. “We had hoped to achieve much more.”
read more.
INDEPENDENT

* No deal on Bangladesh garment disaster damages:

International clothing makers have failed to reach a deal on the creation of a compensation fund for victims of two Bangladeshi factory disasters.

Only a third of the retailers who used the factories turned up for a two-day meeting on the issue in Geneva.
Only Primark was reported as making a firm commitment on funding.
More than 1,200 Bangladeshis died in the two garment factory accidents. Trade unions say many of their families are now struggling to survive.

The talks in Geneva were called by the global trade union IndustriALL and chaired by the International Labour Organisation.
The aim was to provide compensation to families of those who died in the Rana Plaza disaster in April, when the collapse of a factory building killed more than 1,100 people, and in the Tazreen factory fire in November 2012, which killed 112 workers.
Only nine of the brands being produced at the Rana Plaza were represented at the meeting, IndustriALL said in a statement.

Key absentees included Wal-Mart and Benetton, whose chief executive said many companies had stayed away because of a “lack of clarity” around the talks. Benetton would focus on “working directly with those affected by the Rana Plaza disaster”, a statement said.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd BD new age BANGLA NEWS24 bbc UNB

* Geneva: no compo secured for RMG victims:

A third of all retailers who used the factories met for a two-day meeting on the issue in Geneva

International garment makers have failed to sign a deal to create a compensation fund for victims of the Rana Plaza disaster and Tazreen factory fire.

The BBC reports that a third of all retailers who used the factories met for a two-day meeting on the issue in Geneva.
Sources said Primark was the only retailer that made a firm commitment on funding.
At least 1129 people died and around 2500 were injured in the Rana Plaza collapse in April of this year, while 117 people died and at least 200 were injured when fire engulfed the Tazreen factory in November of last year.
Trade unions say many of the victim’s families are now struggling to survive.
(…)
The fact that only a handful of the companies invited turned up for the meeting reflects deep differences within the industry on how to compensate victims of garment factory disasters in countries like Bangladesh, said the BBC’s Anbarasan Ethirajan.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Retailers divided over Bangladesh factory victims compensation:

A group of retailers and clothing brands failed on Thursday to establish compensation funds for the victims of two Bangladesh factory disasters, as many companies that sourced clothes from the buildings decided not to take part in the process.

(…)
But only nine out of the 28 brands being supplied from Rana Plaza came to the Geneva meeting, with some of the absentees saying they preferred to pursue their own compensation plans or citing issues with the approach adopted at the talks.

The IndustriALL trade union, which coordinated the talks, said the group that met on Thursday agreed to contribute to a fund, but would meet again in the next two weeks to establish such a fund, coordinating the process with parties including the Bangladesh government and employers.
“It is difficult to understand why some brands are using any excuse to try to avoid responsibility. The workers are waiting for money and medical assistance,” Monika Kemperle, assistant general secretary of IndustriALL, told Reuters.
(…)
LACK OF CLARITY?
Several retailers were criticized for staying away from the talks, including U.S. group Wal-Mart (WMT.N), which sourced garments from the factory hit by the fire, as well as Italian clothing retailer Benetton and Spanish fashion chain Mango.
Benetton’s chief executive Baigio Chiarolanza said many companies had not joined the Geneva talks due to a “lack of clarity” around objectives and a lack of involvement by several key stakeholders.
“We decided to focus our efforts and resources in working directly with those affected by the Rana Plaza disaster and their families so that we can provide them with concrete help while they need it the most,” he said in a statement.
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20130914

* Global buyers fail to reach consensus:

Global buyers, after holding meetings in Geneva, failed to reach any consensus on creation of a fund for providing long-term compensation for the Tazreen and Rana Plaza victims, as majority of the buyers did not join the initiative.

The meetings, convened by IndustriALL Global Union on September 11 and 12, were facilitated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as a neutral and independent chair.
However, the stakeholders concerned decided to sit again within next two weeks to discuss the issue, according to a statement issued by IndustriAll Thursday.

It said: international experts outlined best practices for the establishment of a compensation fund, overseen by a multi stakeholder committee, which could be created through an agreement by all the parties involved. No such agreement was reached at these meetings, although the brands present committed to continue discussions on this issue.

Immediately after the meeting Primark committed to provide a further three months salary to all affected families as emergency relief, while no other brand or retailer committed such relief, it added.
A total of 29 brands were invited to join the meeting on Rana Plaza victims. Among them, Bon Marché, Camaieu, El Corte Ingles, Kik, Loblaw, Mascot, Matalan, Primark and Store Twenty One attended it.

However, Adler, Auchan, Benetton, C&A, Carrefour, Cato Corp, The Children’s Place, Dressbarn, Essenza, FTA International, Gueldenpfennig, Iconix Brand, Inditex, JC Penney, Kids Fashion Group, LPP, Mango, Manifattura Corona, NKD, Premier Clothing, PWT Group, Texman and Walmart failed to show up.

In the meetings Z M Kamrul Anam of the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council called on brands to act swiftly.
read more.

* Failure in Geneva meet draws flak:

International trade unions and rights campaigners yesterday heavily criticised fashion brands for their complete disregard to the victims of recent garment factory tragedies in Bangladesh after major players even failed to show up at Geneva to talk on compensation package.

“It is shocking that not only have hardly any brands committed to any concrete level of assistance, but even more so that most of the companies implicated in the disaster did not even bother to show up to discuss helping the victims,” said Worker Rights Consortium Executive Director Scott Nova.
His comments came as a two-day meeting in the Swiss city wrapped up on Thursday without firm commitments on a compensation package for the families of those who died in the Rana Plaza disaster and Tazreen factory fire.
read more.
daily star bd

* Bangladesh RMG factory compensation talks fail:

A two-day meeting of high street clothing brands and pressure groups aimed at reaching a compensation deal for victims of two Bangladesh factory disasters ended Thursday in failure, organisers said.

The Geneva talks came after a building housing garment factories collapsed in Bangladesh in April, killing more than 1,100 people.
They were aimed at agreeing compensation for the families of those victims and those of other factory disasters.
The disaster placed the international spotlight on the often appalling conditions and the lack of  rights for workers at the country’s 4,500 garment factories, and retailers responded with a pledge to improve safety. But the campaign groups that organised the meeting said only around a third of the firms invited had even turned up, with key names including Walmart, Benetton and Mango staying away.

Primark was the only clothing retailer to make a concrete commitment at the meeting, vowing to provide a further three months salary to families affected by the Rana Plaza factory collapse.
The 11 brands that made an appearance were mainly European and also included Bon Marche, Camaieu and Store Twenty One.
“We are disappointed that they didn’t commit to an amount,” said Ineke Zeldenrust, international coordinator at the Clean Clothes Campaign. “We had hoped to achieve much more.”
read more.
INDEPENDENT
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20130922

* 25 more Tazreen fire deceased named to High Court:

Names of 25 workers, not included in the official confirmed list of 99 workers who died in the Tazreen Fashions fire in November 2012, have been filed in the High Court by the anthropologists who had earlier petitioned the court to take action against government authorities for their failure to prosecute Tazreen Fashions owner Delwar Hossain.

This could question the accuracy of the government’s official figure of 112 – 99 identified workers and 13 unidentified — as the number of the people who died in the fire.
The petitioners in their petition filed on September 16 also claim that the number of the people who died could be much higher.
‘The petitioners have reasonable belief that the number [of deaths] would be higher if they could access all the information and also could physically visit the places where the workers mainly come from,’ the petition states.
None of these families have received any compensation.
The Bangladesh Garments and Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association at an earlier hearing told the High Court that it had paid Tk 7 lakh in compensation to successors of each of the 99 identified dead workers.
The High Court bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain is likely to consider the list of workers today when the matter is due to come up for hearing.
The anthropologists also filed with the court the details of 10 injured workers who received no compensation and 10 more workers who received Tk 1 lakh to show the inadequate level of compensation in the context of their medical costs and other financial requirements.
read more.
BD new age

* Owner arrest plea hearing today:

The High Court on Sunday re-posted for today the hearing of the writ petition filed in public interest seeking a directive on the government to arrest and prosecute Tazreen Fashions owner Delwar Hossain.

The hearing scheduled for Sunday was not held as the matter did not come up in the list of hearing by the bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain.
The filing of reports of DNA test on 23 unidentified bodies of Tazreen Fashions workers, who died in the factory fire on November 24, 2012, by the Criminal Investigation Department was earlier posted for Sunday.
The bench told writ petitioners’ lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua that the matter by mistake had not come up in the list of hearing.
Neither Tazreen’s owner Delwar Hossain, who was earlier asked to be present, nor his lawyer appeared in court on Sunday.
Deputy attorney general Biswojit Roy, who represented the Criminal Investigation Department, was earlier asked to submit the DNA test reports today.
read more.
BD new age

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20130923

* HC orders Tazreen victim’s treatment at govt cost:

The High Court directed the government on Monday to provide better treatment to a victim of deadly Tazreen garment factory fire.

Now the head of the Directorate General of Health Services has to ensure treatment of Sumaya Khatun in 72 hours at government’s cost.
The fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia in Savar on November 24 last year killed at least 111 people and injured many others.

Monday’s directive follows three writ petitioners mentioning Sumaya, who has been seriously injured in the fire, is now suffering from cancerous tumor in her brain.
Three anthropologists– Naznin Akter Banu, Saydia Gulrukh Kamal and Mahmudul Hasan Sumon filed the petitions on April 28.

They also sought directives on the government to arrest the factory owner, Md Delwar Hossain, to ensure his trial for criminal liabilities.They recently submitted a supplementary petition along with the writ petition, saying Sumaya is now undergoing treatment at UnitedHospital in Dhaka at the cost of the petitioners.

In this situation, the government should take responsibility for the treatment, the petitioners said, adding that Sumaya has to be given radiotherapy five times a week, which will cost Tk 35,000.
read more.
daily star bd

* Use DNA test to identify 25 more Tazreen victims: HC:

The High Court on Monday directed the police to arrange collection of DNA samples of family members of 25 dead workers who could not be identified.

Names of 25 workers, not included in the official confirmed list of 111 workers who died in the Tazreen Fashions fire in November 2012, had been supplied to the High Court by anthropologists who had earlier petitioned the court to take action against government authorities for their failure to prosecute Tazreen Fashions owner Delwar Hossain.
A bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain also directed the Health Directorate’s director-general to shift Tazreen fire victim Sumaya to Dhaka Medical College Hospital from United Hospital in the capital in 72 hours.
read more.
BD new age

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20130926

* Reparation after the Bangladesh garment factory disaster:

In the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh this April, the corporations who use the factory expressed grave concern for the deceased workers and their families and committed to helping them.

Built on swampland outside the capital city of Dhaka and housing five factories, when the Rana Plaza building collapsed, 1,100 workers were killed and 1,900 injured. Most of the workers, and thus the victims, were women.
Although one of the world’s worst industrial disasters, to date only one retailer has given compensation to the victims of the Rana Plaza disaster.

No agreement was reached at the recent Geneva meetings to address compensation, which many called a failure. Meanwhile, trade unions report that many victims and their families are barely surviving and may lose their homes.
Ongoing but separate talks on safety, rather than compensation, have proven more fruitful. Over 80 retailers ‑- but reportedly not Wal-Mart or Gap, which insist on self-regulation ‑- have agreed to a binding, five-year accord to improve safety in Bangladeshi garment factories.

The agreement includes a binding arbitration process that can be enforced through the court system in the country where the retailer is based.
However, according to Ikeke Zelderust of Clean Clothes Campaign, many brands “want to be associated with prevention,” but they do not wish to be associated with reparation.

Indeed, only nine of 28 retailers whose garments were made by Rana Plaza workers bothered to show up at the compensation talks held in Geneva on September 11 and 12, 2013.
Called by the global trade union IndustriALL and chaired by the International Labour Organization, the meeting was intended to address compensation for the Rana Plaza disaster as well as the Tazreen factory fire, which killed 112 workers and injured over 120 in Bangladesh in November 2012.
read more.
rabble_logo

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20131004

* Tazreen fire victims’ treatment HC unhappy over govt failure to report:

The High Court is dissatisfied over the government’s failure to report back to it about the treatment facilities provided to a Tazreen Fashions fire victim, reports bdnews24.com.

The bench of Justices Md. Rezaul Haque and ABM Altaf Hossain on Thursday ordered the Home Ministry, Labour and Employment Secretary and the Director General of the Directorate of Drug Administration to report on the matter by Oct 7.
The lawyer who moved the petition was also asked to send the copy of the order to the defendants.
The HC on Sep 23 ordered the government to look after the treatment of Sumaiya Khatun, a Tazreen factory worker who was injured in the deadly fire that left over 100 of her colleagues dead on Nov 25 last year.
The three defendants were asked to report back to court on Sumaiy’s treatment by Oct 1.
The report was not submitted until Thursday afternoon.
In his argument on Sept 23, the petitioner lawyer, Jyotirmoy Barua, had said Sumaiya developed cancer due to the lack of treatment to the injury she had suffered in the fire.
read more. & read more. & read more.
newstodayBD bdnews24 BD new age

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20131009

* HC asks govt to submit reports on compensation:

The High Court (HC) Tuesday directed the government to submit reports on the compensation to 23 Tazreen fire victims, list of whom was placed before it on the day.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Labour Secretary and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) were directed to comply with the order within November 5.
An HC division bench comprising Justice Dr Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain passed the order.
Petitioners’ lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua confirmed this to the FE Tuesday evening.

Another HC order passed earlier directing the government to submit the DNA test reports of relatives of Tazreen’s missing victims remains non-complied, Mr Barua said.
read more.

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20131109

* Relatives of 11 victims buried unclaimed yet to be identified:

The police have yet to identify family members of 11 workers who died in the November 2012 Tazreen Fashions fire and were buried unclaimed in Jurain graveyard in the city.

Referring to the government’s investigation report that said 111 workers had died in the deadly factory fire, the Criminal Investigation Department submitted to the High Court on Thursday that bodies of 100 workers had been identified and the rest 11 remained unidentified.
Of the 100 victims who have been identified, Dhaka deputy commissioner’s office identified 58, and the rest 42 through DNA sampling of the victims and members of their families, the CID submitted.
About the High Court’s September 23 order that had asked the police to contact the 63 people who were claiming they were family members of Tazreen fire victims, the CID submitted that 42 victims they had identified were linked to the 63 people.
The CID, however, said that DNA samplings of 10 out of the 63 claimants did not match those of any of the victims.
read more.
BD new age

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20131118

* Tazreen Fire, Rana Plaza Collapse: Make public list of casualties:

Urge labour rights activists

Labour rights activists yesterday demanded making public a complete list of garment workers injured and killed in the Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza collapse, naming those who received financial assistance and those left out.

The process of disbursing financial aid should also be made public through formation of a coordination committee comprising the parties concerned, they told a press conference Sramik Nirapatta Forum (SNF) organised in the capital’s Dhaka Reporters Unity.
Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, assistant executive director of BILS, and SNF Convener Hamida Hossain also spoke.
to read.
daily star bd

* Tazreen’s owner Delwar faces wrath of victims :

The High Court earlier directed the government to provide better treatment to a victim of deadly Tazreen garment factory fire named Sumaya

Sunday was fixed for hearing on the writ petition that asked the government to arrest owner of Tazreen garment factory Delwar Hossain to ensure his trial for criminal liabilities.

As the hearing ended and Delwar Hossain walked out of the court room victims’ family members gathered around him. One of them shouted at him: “Give me my sister back.” Delwar answered with a smile: “The case is going on.”
Another aggrieved family member of a victim snapped: “Is this case can give me my daughter back?”

As he was standing in the middle of so many family members of the victims he looked perplexed. Just then some of his well-wishers came over and cordoned him off.
By the time he had to face a volley of questions from those people. He was asked why he was not giving the compensation. In reply Delwar said he was doing whatever he could and he could do nothing beyond that.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

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 To be continued. See Part 2

 

map of Asia

*TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:

20121124-25
* Fire kills 5 at a Savar RMG unit
* Ashulia RMG factory fire kills 5, injures over 100
* 5 killed, over 300 injured
* Savar RMG factory fire kills 9
* At least 9 workers killed
* ‘Savar fire death toll may cross 100
* Garment factory blaze kills 104 in Bangladesh
* Bangladesh factory fire death toll soars to 121: fire chief
* Ashulia RMG factory fire rises to 124
* Scores killed in Bangladesh factory blaze
* RMG Fire: Official death toll stands at 111; rescue operation abandoned
* Garment factory blaze kills 109 in Bangladesh
* PM expresses shock at loss of lives in Ashulia garment fire
* Bangladeshi Factory Fire: Brands accused of Crimimnal Negligence
* Ashulia Fire: Mourning Day on any day this week

20121126
* Factory Fire Kills More Than 100 People in Bangladesh
* Unclaimed bodies to be kept at DMCH
* Tazreen Fashions was ‘highly risky’
* Deadly Ashulia fire toll reaches 110
* Govt assistance for Ctg, Ashulia victims
* Ashulia fire death toll now 111, thousands take to streets
* RMG workers block roads in Ashulia
* Desperate search for Ashulia fire victims
* Fire hits second Bangladesh garment factory
* Dhaka fire strips bare garment trade horrors
* UTTARA GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Fire again at Uttara factory
* Another apparel factory catches fire at Dakhsin Khan
* Bangladesh: agreement on fire safety in textiles required
* Labor Rights Group Calls on Brands to Join Fire Safety Program Following Deadly Fire at Factory Supplying US and European Brands

20121127
* Nation to mourn Ashulia-Ctg tragedy Tuesday
* Ashulia holocaust
* Ashulia RMG Fire: Workers stage demo, block road
* Ashulia fire death toll now 111
* Probe body in Ashulia
* Sampling for DNA tests starts
* Families keep searching through rubble
* Fakhrul visits fire-ravaged Savar RMG factory
* HC order sought
* Ashulia tragedy: 2 arrested
* Ashulia RMG fire for Tk 20,000?
* Bgmea sees sabotage
* BGMEA smells ‘foul play’
* Garment fire planned arson: PM
* RMG factory fire: Offenders to be brought to book: Home Minister
* Factory Fire: Dr Kamal for probe commission
* BGMEA forms probe committee
* Bangladesh blaze factory had 6 illegal storeys: govt
* Western brands accused in Ashulia garment fire
* Bangladesh workers protest ‘deathtraps’
* Dhaka workers demand action after factory fire
* Dangers facing RMG workers
* Li & Fung pledges pay-outs for victims of Bangladesh fire
* Wal-Mart distances itself from Ashulia fire
* Bangladesh factory fire ‘troubles’ Walmart
* Fatal fire sends negative signals to garment buyers
* RMG industry ‘under buyer scanner’
* Sean Combs’ ENYCE labels found in Bangladesh factory fire
* UTTARA GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Huge clothes gutted in RMG factory fire
* 2nd RMG factory fire in 48 hours
* Fire alarm leads to stampede, 50 workers injured
* RMG units having no emergency exits will be shut, says minister
* Factory fire the deadliest of many in Bangladesh
* Why fires in South Asia kill more than blazes elsewhere
* In shame

20121128
* Death-trapped in a burning cage – the Ashulia inferno
* Death of workers in Ashulia fire is ‘mass murder’: Intellectuals, activists
* 52 unnamed fire victims laid to rest
* Demo in front of Tazreen Fashion
* Ensure workers safety, PM tells businessmen
* Units without 2 exits to be shut
* ILRF for independent, transparent probe
* Statement: National Garments Workers Federation, Bangladesh
* Deaths of RMG workers in factory fire condoled
* BGMEA blames wrong planning for RMG fire, moots separate estate
* Dhaka to learn lesson from Ashulia fire to ensure grow of RMG: US envoy
* EU ready to help Bangladesh raise safety in apparel sector
* Ashulia fire offenders to be brought to book: MKA
* Debunia garment fire for Tk 20,000
* B Chy warns govt over Ashulia garment fire
* 3 Tazreen officials held over fire link
* Marginal impact of Bangladesh factory fire on Li & Fung
* Walmart blames its supplier
* BKMEA asks factory owners to abide by labour law, environ act
* Global media highlights RMG factory fire
* A Girl Named ‘Lovely’ Demands Change After Factory Fire Kills 112
* Trade union is the solution, Debapriya says
* Fire highlights harsh lives of workers
* Over 500 RMG workers die in factory fires in 22 years
* Ashulia workers stage rowdy protest
* Citizens demand justice for deaths in Ashulia fire
* RMG workers damage vehicles, block Dhaka-Mymensingh highway for arrears
* Ashulia garment units announce daylong closure
* Tazreen tragedy: At stake is the RMG sector
* It is high time; we fix our apparel sector
* Employers moved with pity, call for urgent action to improve RMG situation
* An Other Fire- Fabrics gutted in RMG factory fire in Ashulia

20121129
* RMG workers go berserk in Ashulia, 20-50 hurt
* Fire survivors tell stories of utter neglect
* My fault, but none alerted me
* Workers stage demo in Ashulia
* Helpline for Tazreen victims
* BGMEA to disburse salaries of Tazreen Fashions’ workers Dec 1
* 3 Tazreen Fashions officials on 5-day remand
* Arrests made after Bangladesh factory blaze
* BGMEA to form taskforce to oversee fire exit facility at factories
* Bgmea seeks buyers’ coop- Help reduce safety risks
* Hunt for cheap garments leads to workers’ plight
* Break-up with Walmart may send Tazreen to bankruptcy
* Wal-Mart, Disney clothes found in Ashulia fire
* Workers Burn, Walmart Ducks Responsibility
* The other fire- 50-60 hurt in stampede in Ctg RMG factory
* Garment ‘jinx’ gets going
* 5 workers injured in city RMG factory stampede
* Criminal Negligence Leads to Tragedy at the Tazreen Fashion Factory
* Bangladesh to ensure friendly environment in RMG sector: Mozena
* The fallout from the Tazreen fire
* Lax Safety Measures Blamed for Tazreen Factory Fire Tragedy

20121130
* Labour rights group presses for binding safety agreement
* Labor Rights Groups urge Us and European governments to press apparel brands
* Garment factory fire prompts calls for better safety norms
* Ashulia returns to life
* Workers demand arrest of Tazreen Fashions owner
* RMG fire safety largely ignored
* MD unaware of safety
* JS body wants task force to monitor RMG factories
* Formation of judicial probe body demanded
* 75- 100-130 workers injured in Savar fire stampedes
* Disney, Sears used factory in fire
* BGMEA wakes up, but slowly
* BD factory fire underscores retailers’ sourcing challenges, says Wall Street Journal
* Time to bring peace and patience in garment sector
* Tazreen Fashions to get Tk 18cr insurance
* Tk 2 core donates to PM relief fund for Ashulia, Bohadderhat victims
* Garment makers bash media
* BGMEA flays media
* Ashulia: Time for change and putting people first

20121202/03
* The last call
* Tazreen workers protest in Ashulia
* PM allocates money for Ashulia-Ctg victims
* BGMEA readies compensations for fire victims’ families
* Salary day for Tazreen workers today
* Survivors get no pay after long wait
* ‘Tazreen workers to get wages by Dec 5- 6′
* Chaos deepens over Tazreen tragedy
* Fire takes toll beyond factory
* Move to collect info about Ashulia fire victims
* Doubt over justice in Ashulia fire
* Labour leaders demand punishment to Tazreen culprits
* Demonstration continues in Ashulia
* Ashulia region remains restive
* Trade bodies concerned over industrial unrest
* Main drivers of apparel industry deserve protection
* Outburst against delaying salary
* Ashulia still volatile, nearly 100 units shut for today
* Govt mulls RMG workers’ fed: minister
* Garments factories or death traps?
* Seeing beyond garments factories’ inferno
* Fire check frustration
* Firemen ring alarm for RMG owners
* Factories run uninspected
* Selling garments, or your soul?
* US ready to assist Bangladesh streamlining RMG sector
* US eager to ensure safety of BD’s RMG industries: Mozena
* Global campaign to push Walmart into fire safety programme
* Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg
* RMG fire accident emerges as a fresh irritant for investment promotion efforts
* Workers are the life of industry but who cares?

* RMG workers attack 3 Picard units
* Top buyers press for fire safety
* 2 Chinese factories at IEPZ closed
* Unrest shuts two RMG factories in Ishwardi EPZ
* Leather factory attacked
* Crisis managers in hibernation

20121204
* To hell and back
* Ashulia still volatile, nearly 300 units shut for today
* PM to hand over Tk 4 lakh to each family of fire victims Tuesday
* Protest in Ashulia continues – Workers clash with police: 50 injured
* Workers’ demo continues in Ashulia
* Workers gherao BGMEA office
* BGMEA probe body misses deadline
* BGMEA enlists 990 Tazreen workers to pay wages, compensation
* Compensate- Trade unions urge Walmart
* 10 injured in (other) Ashulia fire
* Savar garments catches fire; 24 workers injured while scrambling to get down from factory
* Ctg fire service launches drive at RMG units
* They got some fire tools, not training
* Insurers worried over rising RMG accidents
* Ashulia garment fire and after

20121205
* Hunt down those instigating workers to set fire to RMG factories: PM
* Tazreen workers to get full benefits today
* ‘An act of sabotage and murder due to negligence
* We the self-destructive nation!
* From the ashes of Bangladesh fire, evidence of a complex global supply chain
* Factories resume operation at Ashulia amid sporadic clashes
* A future burnt out
* Waiting for death
* Another Tazreen worker dies
* Apparel makers optimistic about overcoming fire shock
* Tazreen fire: Our share of corporate criminality

20121206
* Compensation, salary given
* Compensation yet a day-dream to many
* Do not fire workers
* Wal-Mart Nixed Paying Bangladesh Suppliers to Fight Fire
* Walmart refused to pay Bangladesh suppliers to fight fire
* PM stresses upholding RMG sector’s reputation
* No more such fire tragedy
* Factories resume operation at Ashulia amid sporadic clashes
* Tazreen probe finds proof of negligence
* BGMEA to publish probe report on Tazreen fire by Dec 20
* Should the BGMEA wake up?
* Most garment factories in Ctg lack fire safety checks
* Key buyer backs pay hike for RMG workers
* Factory fire: a call to action
* Clothing patterns for US marines found at fire site
* RMG sector: Secret of success and causes of unrest
* Trade unions and labour groups’ demands to buyers from Tazreen Fashions
* Vigils at European C&A stores for Justice Tazreen Fire Victims

20121207
* Commotion over salary persists
* Five Wal-Mart vendors made clothes at Tazreen factory
* Workers under constant threat
* Death of poor workers in devastating fire
* Labour leaders demand arrest of Tazreen owner, more damages
* Safety gets risky for corruption
* Make uniform fire safety checklist: official
* Govt orders regular fire drill for workers
* Social Compliance Forum asks all to be more vigilant to avoid accidents
* US buyers seek trade union rights for RMG workers
* US, EU stress improving factory safety
* EU ambassador William Hanna & US amb. Mozena tells BGMEA to allow trade unions in factories
* Horrific Bangladesh factory fire revealed a gap in safety for global brands

20121208
* Confusion over Tazreen toll
* Some Tazreen workers stage demo for payment
* Most Tazreen workers fail to manage new jobs
* Bangladesh factory lacked fire clearance
* Tazreen lost fire safety clearance months before tragedy
* Walmart blocked safety push in Bangladesh
* Any insurance claim made against Tazreen Fashions fire?
* Corruption nexus behind garment tragedies
* BGMEA to sign MoU with architects to ensure fire safety in RMG units
* Fire fighting tools’ demand spikes on Tazreen tragedy
* Ershad takes responsibility of 2 children
* BGMEA’s training programme for workers, management people starts from tomorrow

20121209
* Wal-Mart supplier denies knowing clothes made in Bangladesh factory
* Buyers risk brand image by sourcing from rogue factories
* Ashulia factory fire preplanned: Muhith

20121210
* Confusion over Tazreen toll
* Some Tazreen workers stage demo for payment
* Most Tazreen workers fail to manage new jobs
* Bangladesh factory lacked fire clearance
* Tazreen lost fire safety clearance months before tragedy
* Walmart blocked safety push in Bangladesh
* Wal-Mart supplier denies knowing clothes made in Bangladesh factory
* Buyers risk brand image by sourcing from rogue factories
* Any insurance claim made against Tazreen Fashions fire?
* Ashulia factory fire preplanned: Muhith
* Corruption nexus behind garment tragedies
* BGMEA to sign MoU with architects to ensure fire safety in RMG units
* Fire fighting tools’ demand spikes on Tazreen tragedy
* Ershad takes responsibility of 2 children

20121211
* Bangla fire exposes apathy of global clothing brands
* A rallying cry for fire safety
* Tazreen fire an outcome of unplanned expansion, ignorance: Labour Minister
* Documents Reveal New Details About Walmart Connection to Tazreen Factory Fire
* After fire, Wal-Mart vows to tighten source safeguards
* 251 left-out Tazreen workers paid
* Workplace safety must for Bangladesh to become RMG leader
* BGMEA launches fire training for workers

20121212
* Burned Bangladesh factory was warned twice on fire safety
* Inspectors target Ashulia factories
* After fire, Wal-Mart vows to tighten source safeguards
* Documents link Wal-Mart to gutted firm
* US blamed for ‘poor’ factory conditions
* Bangladesh fire safety to cost retailers $ 3b
* Why Not Boycott Bangladesh?

20121213
* Protests demand Tazreen owner’s arrest
* Flash protest at BGMEA for justice for Tazreen workers
* What Wal-Mart’s Supplier Network Missed

20121214
* fire safety responsibility of government and brand
* US lawmakers urge Obama’s action in Tazreen fire
* Latest Garment Factory Fire Shows Apparel Industry Puts Profits Before Workers
* Khaleda urges workers’ safety
* Walmart tied to Tazreen fire via supply chain: CEO

20121216/17
* Wal-Mart email reveals strategy to upgrade Bangladesh factories
* Major retailers seem unwilling to foot the bill for fire safety
* Liar, liar, factories on fire
* Tazreen fire and some questions
* American tariffs, Bangladeshi deaths
* Flame of fire and death of nimble fingers
* Wake-up call for big clothing brands

20121218
* Tazreen fire was sabotage: Probe
* Probe report for owner’s punishment
* A cheap T-shirt or a human life?
* BGMEA forms taskforce

20121219
* Sabotage, really? Rights activists, worker leaders reject govt probe findings
* Bangladesh Finds Gross Negligence in Factory Fire
* Bangladesh garment industry demands action on deadly fire report
* Taskforce formed to ensure fire compliance in apparel factories
* Garments workers` rally in capital Dec 28

20121221
* BGMEA again fails to present Tazreen fire probe report
* Delay in publishing Tazreen fire probe report draws workers’ ire
* US Lawmakers Press For Trade Response To Bangladesh Factory Fire
* Global unions call for measures after Tazreen fire
* Demand justice for the victims of the Tazreen fire

20121223
* Garment Workers Red Flag Procession related to Tarzeen Fashion Fire
* Arrest of Tazreen owner demanded
* 1800 RMG units lag behind fire-safety standard
* RMG Fire Safety: BGMEA taskforce starts work Sunday
* Factories set up violating rules
* Flammable Material: How Garment Workers Can Respond to the Tazreen
Factory Fire
* Factory fires bedevil garment industry
* US sanctions loom after Bangladesh factory fire

20121225
* Tazreen fire survivors in deep penury
* DNA profiling of Tazreen Victims
* Can mobile phones improve factory fire safety?
* Actions awaits probe review on Tazreen fire: Alamgir

20121231
* Tazreen Fashions fire planned: BGMEA probe report
* Tazreen fire preplanned: BGMEA probe

20130101
* Tazreen fire pre-planned

20130105
* Frustration grips families of missing workers
* Arrest, punishment of owner demanded
* CID now probes Tazreen Garments fire
* Garment workers’ symbolic hunger strike held
* JS panel advises action against Tazreen owner

20130108
* JS body trashes BGMEA probe
* `BGMEA trying to save Tazreen owner
* Big cos fail to ensure safe factories in BD

20130109
* HC asks for govt inspection report on fire safety
* Is Walmart partly to blame for Tazreen fire
* Victims’ families want compensation

20130110
* Wal-Mart pressured to name suppliers
* Arrest of Tazreen owner demanded
* Tazreen owner to face legal action if found guilty: Alamgir
* CID take over Tazreen fire case

20130111
* No damages for all identified families yet

20130113
* 40 labour assocs demand arrest, punishment of owner
* 3 more Tazreen staffers held

20130115
* Tazreen fire victims get assistance

20130116
* Five more Tazreen staff on CID watch

20130121
* Labour leaders demand arrest of Tazreen owner, Walmart compensation

20130124
* Bangladesh Fire Victims’ Families Wait for Money
* Two months after Tazreen: still no money
* No sooth for Tazreen burns; Over 50 victims’ families yet to get wages, compensations
* Multi-million Campensation Demand to C&A and KIK for Tazreen Fire Victims

20130127
* Tazreen families demand compensation
* Punish errant owners
* Arrest of Tazreen owner demanded
* Relatives of Tazreen fire victims rally
* Call to allow TUs for RMG workers to protect rights

20130128
* ‘No proof of sabotage in Tazreen fire’
* Workers’ ultimatum to arrest Tazreen, Smart owners

20130129
* Workers’ ultimatum to arrest Tazreen, Smart owners
* Cultural activists give ultimatum to arrest owners of Tazreen, Smart
* RMG workers threaten strike, road blockade
* Arrest Tazreen, Smart owners in 48 hrs: Workers’ bodies to govt
* BGMEA sit-in calls for arrests
* Plea filed seeking arrest of Tazreen, Smart owners

20130130
* Unfit licensed as fire-fit
* HC moved for owners’ arrest
* Petition filed to arrest owners of Tazreen Fashion, Smart Export
* DNA test of 37 Tazreen fire victims matched
* Those responsible for RMG sector setback must be punished: Atiur

20130131
* Some solace for families

20130201
* BGMEA membership saves Tazreen owner: CPB

20130202
* Ashes of Souls
* BGMEA is responsible for the deaths of Tazreen’s workers
* Arrest of Tazreen owners demanded

20130203
* Apparel industry workers deserve better
* Labour leaders demand arrest of Tazreen owner

20130211
* Tazreen victims yet to be compensated

20130214
* Arrest of Tazreen owner iterated

20130217
* 6 more Tazreen fire victims identified

20130220
* Most families of Tazreen victims get no compensation

20130221
* Three Months After Tazreen Fire, Little Change

20130225-26
* Dutch co to help Tazreen fire victims

20130228
* 2 foreign buyers to form foundation to support wards of Tazreen fire victims

20130301
* C&A declares support for Bangla garment factory victims

20130305
* Families of 57 Tazreen fire dead workers get compensation

20130306
* C&A fails to base calculations for the compensation package for the Tazreen’s victims

20130314
* Call upon Tazreen brands to deliver the goods

20130316
* Govt, BGMEA accused of hiding real number of missing workers

20130317
* Call for quick detection of Tazreen victims

20130409
* CAMPAIGN FOR COMPENSATION- Tazreen fire survivor going to US
* Compensation deal for Tazreen workers- Apr 15 meet in Geneva receives poor response from buyer cos

20130411
* Tazreen Fire Survivor Meets with Rep. Miller

20130412
* End Death Traps: 10 city tour, April 8-26, 2013
* Bangladesh fire survivor seeks compensation
* Bangladesh Factory Fire Victim Calls On Walmart To Pay Compensation

20130415
* Wal-Mart, Sears Refuse Compensation for Factory Victims

20130416
* European brands agree to compensate Tazreen victims
* Walmart refuses to compensate Tazreen Fire Victims 1
* Wal-Mart refuses to compensate Tazreen fire victims 2

20130418
* ‘I Jumped to Save My Body’: Walmart Slammed Over Nicaragua Stabbings and Bangladesh Fire

20130419
* Families of each Tazreen fire victims will get Tk 0.1m more

20130421
* European retailer compensates families of Tazreen victims
* Bangladeshi Activists Bring Fight to Wal-Mart’s Doorstep

20130425
* Survivor of Bangladesh’s Tazreen Factory Fire Urges U.S. Retailers to Stop Blocking Worker Safety

20130428
* Writ filed for Tazreen owner’s arrest

20130501
* Families of Tazreen fire victims demand compensation

20130519
* Tazreen owner can`t go abroad: HC
* HC orders arrest of Tazreen owner
* Arrest Tazreen owner forthwith: HC

20130529
* Victim’s brother sues Tazreen owner, 30 others

20130530
* HC asks to submit report on June 9
* HC asks for govt probe report on June 9

20130609
* Collect DNA of 37 families: HC
* 37 Tazreen workers still missing

20130612
* Negligence unpardonable
* Bangladeshi in hiding after case on factory blaze

20130620
* HC asks chief inspector of factories, BGMEA to report on compensations to Tazreen fire victims

20130629
* CID yet to complete Tazreen fire probe

20130719
* Court asks for Ashulia police report on Tazreen fire

20130721
* HC for compensation report by Jul 28
* Govt, BGMEA warned over inaction

20130728
* 48 global retailers to meet in Dhaka

20130729
* HC kept in wait
* HC criticises IGP for missing Tazreen DNA report deadline

20130802
* RMG disaster victims’ lives a ‘nightmare
* Cancer diagnosis worsens plight of Tazreen worker

20130807-12
* Bangladesh Factory Victims Wait as Compensation Meeting Delayed
* Bangladesh compensation meetings rescheduled
* Meeting to fix compensation package for Tazreen, Rana Plaza victims due next month

20130816
* Benetton and Mango: come to Bangladesh, and pay compensation!

20130906
* Geneva meet to fix compensation for RMG victims of Tazreen and Rana Plaza
* RMG victims compensation talks in Geneva next week

20130907
* CCC, brands sit in Geneva Sept 11-12 to set compensation
* Global retailers urged to compensate Tazreen, Rana Plaza victims fairly

20130908
* Leading brands may announce compensation package for Rana Plaza victims

20130910
* Brands Failing Victims of Bangladesh Disasters

20130911
* Compensation to BD RMG disaster victims- 12 brands agree to meet in Geneva, 20 others refuse
* Most brands staying away as meeting begins in Geneva today
* Garment makers to discuss Bangladesh compensation

20130913
* Retailers discuss compensation for BD factory disaster victims
* Retailers’ meet begins in Geneva to negotiate $77mn compensation
* Bangladesh workers must continue to wait for full compensation
* Primark pledges more compensation
* Bangladesh factory compensation talks fail: organisers
* No deal on Bangladesh garment disaster damages
* Geneva: no compo secured for RMG victims
* Retailers divided over Bangladesh factory victims compensation

20130913
* Global buyers fail to reach consensus
* Failure in Geneva meet draws flak
* Bangladesh RMG factory compensation talks fail

20130922
* 25 more Tazreen fire deceased named to High Court
* Owner arrest plea hearing today

20130923
* HC orders Tazreen victim’s treatment at govt cost
* Use DNA test to identify 25 more Tazreen victims: HC

20130926
* Reparation after the Bangladesh garment factory disaster

20131004
* Tazreen fire victims’ treatment HC unhappy over govt failure to report

20131009
* HC asks govt to submit reports on compensation

20131109
* Relatives of 11 victims buried unclaimed yet to be identified

20131118
* Tazreen Fire, Rana Plaza Collapse: Make public list of casualties
* Tazreen’s owner Delwar faces wrath of victims

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2