Another Factory Tragedy in Bangladesh
At least nine workers have been killed and about 50 injured in a factory fire, which broke out during the evening, Tuesday 8th October, in Gazipur near Dhaka. The cause is unclear but it is thought that a machine caught fire in the knitting section of Aswad Composite Mills. The fire rapidly spread and officials stated that it took several hours to control the blaze, with some workers unable to exit quickly from the burning building. Although most members of the 3,000 strong workforce had left for the day, those killed were thought to have been working overtime shifts.
Fighting the factory blaze – image from BBC news
This latest tragedy puts Bangladesh once again under a negative spotlight. Clothing is responsible for around three-quarters of Bangladesh’s total exports and after a factory collapse killing more than 1,100 people in April the issue of working conditions and health and safety standards has come to the fore.
UK retailers regularly use production outlets in Bangladesh and now more than ever there is pressure for well-known retailers to sign an agreement to use regularly inspected factories that adhere to good working conditions. So far fashion brands including H&M, Zara and Topshop – have signed the agreement while other brands such as Jaeger plan to manufacture more garments closer to home either in the UK or Europe.