Bangladeshi factory fire: families of victims continue to wait for compensation

Six months after the deadly fire that took place at Tazreen fashions in Bangladesh, many families of the 112 dead workers are still waiting for compensation. The majority of the workers with injuries from the flames are also barely able to live a decent life without help. So far the amounts paid by the brands are far from full and fair compensation.

These workers were employed by Tazreen Fashions to make clothing for a host of international brands, including C&A, Walmart and the British clothing retailer Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

The families of the dead and injured workers are now struggling to survive. The loss of the income provided by these workers, the stress and grief from losing a family member and unexpected costs of medical treatment have left them devastated. Bangladesh unions have calculated that, according to international standards, each family that has lost a wage earner is entitled to £33,000 in compensation for pain and suffering and for loss of income. This money will not bring back their loved one, but it will enable them to start rebuilding their lives.

C&A and Li and Fung have contributed some financial support but this falls far below what is needed. Walmart has terminated the relationship with the supplier which had subcontracted to Tazreen without authorisation, but has done nothing to help the families of those killed. Edinburgh Woollen Mill has, to date, refused to accept any responsibility for these families and has not contributed a penny of compensation.

It doesn’t have to be so difficult: within one month after a fire killed eight workers at Smart Export, not far from the Tazreen factory, two brands sourcing from this factory (Inditex and New Look) negotiated a compensation package with local unions. They illustrate how brands can be responsible when the worst happens.

No time to waste : fires still continue!
Since the Tazreen fire, another 28 factory fires have been reported in Bangladesh, injuring at least 591 more workers and killing another eight. The “Fatal Fashion” report, released this March demonstrates that companies and governments knew about the risks, but failed to take sufficient measures to prevent the fires from happening or to address the needs of the victims afterwards.

To stop these fires from happening, brands sourcing from Bangladesh should join the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement, that was already signed last year by the US company PVH Corp (owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger) and the German retailer Tchibo.

TAKE ACTION NOW! Send an email to Edinburgh Woollen Mill and call on them to take responsibility for Tazreen workers!



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