Bangladesh building collapse kills over 1100 workers: Primark and Mango labels found

Labour Behind the Label continues to mourn the senseless loss of life, after an 8 story building in Savar, Bangladesh housing 3 clothing factories collapsed  on 24th April. Over 1100 workers were killed in the wreckage and thousands of people injured, with the death toll set to rise as further bodies are found. Labour rights groups and trade unions in Bangladesh and internationally are calling for immediate action from international brands following the collapse.

The building contained 3 separate clothing factories, which locals say housed around 6,000 workers. Following the collapse, activists were able to enter the ruins and discovered labels from brands including Primark and Mango, indicating that they were sourcing from the factories. Rana Plaza also produced for a host of well known brand names including C&A, Matalan and Wal-Mart.

This collapse follows the Tazreen factory fire in the same district that killed 112 workers five months ago, and the Spectrum Factory collapse of 2005 which caused the death of at least 64 workers. The speed of the garment industry expansion in the Savar area is an ongoing and pressing concern. Savar, just outside of Dhaka, has seen significant growth in garment factories in recent times, with factories being built on swamp land and without proper building regulations in place. Labour rights groups say unnecessary deaths will continue unless and until brands and government officials agree to an independent and binding fire and building safety program.

“Tragedy after tragedy shows that corporate-controlled monitoring is completely inadequate,” says Sam Maher of Labour Behind the Label. “The families of the victims and the hundreds injured in the collapse, are without income and without support. Compensation must be provided by the brands who were sourcing from these factories, and responsibility taken for their lack of action to prevent this happening.”

Labour Behind the Label is calling upon all major brands sourcing from Bangladesh to sign the 'Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement' immediately to stop future tragedies from happening. The Clean Clothes Campaign, together with local and global unions and labour rights organisations, has developed this sector-wide program that includes independent building inspections, worker rights training, public disclosure and a long-overdue review of safety standards. This transparent and practical agreement is unique in that it is supported by all key labour stakeholders in Bangladesh and internationally.

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