Clean Clothes Campaign mourns more factory deaths in Bangladesh

The Clean Clothes Campaign is horrified by the loss of life at another garment factory in Bangladesh and sends its heartfelt condolences to all the families affected by this latest tragedy.
  • Ten workers are reported killed and over 50 injured
  • Factory linked to George (Asda / Walmart), Loblaws and Hudson Bay Company
  • Calls for intensification of work on safety and immediate compensation for the victims

Latest reports suggest that ten workers were killed and over 50 may have been injured when a fire ripped through the Aswad Composite Mills factory in the capital Dhaka at around 6pm on the 8th October. Firefighters took several hours to extinguish the blaze and investigations into the cause of the blaze are now underway.

Workers interviewed by the Workers Rights Consortium stated they were producing primarily for the clothing label George, owned by Walmart. Shipping documents show Import data links a number of other brands to the factory including two Canadian companies Loblaw and the Hudson Bay Company. We expect more brands to be found sourcing at the factory and would urge all those with production at Aswad to acknowledge responsibility and to take immediate steps to ensure compensation and medical treatment is provided to those who need it.

The fire comes almost six months after the collapse of Rana Plaza and is the fourth deadly fire to break out in a Bangladesh garment factory in the last twelve months [1]. Since the Rana Plaza disaster over 90 brands have joined the legally binding Bangladesh Accord on FIre and Building Safety,which aims to tackle the root causes of factory collapses and fires and is jointly governed by brands and trade unions. Loblaw is a signatory of the Accord, while Husdon Bay and Walmart, are part of the industry controlled Alliance.

"This latest tragedy highlights how much still needs to be done to make the Bangladesh garment industry safe" said Ineke Zeldenrust of the Clean Clothes Campaign. "The signing of the Accord was a huge step forward, but this tragedy underlines the need for inspections and renovations to get underway as a matter of urgency. We urge all those connected to the factory to work together to provide compensation, lost wages and medical treatment to those families and individuals affected by this fire.”

The Clean Clothes Campaign will be working with trade unions and labour rights groups on the ground to gather more information on the circumstances around the fire and to demand full and fair compensation for the victims.
Notes to editors

[1] Recent fires include: Tazreen Fashion factory on November 24th 2012 which killed at least 122 workers, Smart Garments in February 2013 which killed 9 workers and Tung Hai in May 2013 killing 9.