Clean Clothes Campaign statement on five years anniversary of Tazreen Fashions fire

Five years ago today, the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh went up in flames. Over 112 workers died, trapped in their workplace. Many more sustained injuries for life. On this day, our thoughts are with the survivors and the families of those workers that lost loved ones in this tragedy.

Those affected by the fire had to fight long and hard for compensation. Only over two years after the fire, an agreement was reached with C&A to establish a fund with contributions from brands sourcing from the factory, which would provide for loss of income payments and long-term medical treatment. The payments were concluded in June 2016 and a medical trust is still overseeing long-term medical treatment for the injured.

Five years since the Tazreen fire, with many factory incidents happening in the meantime, extreme uncertainty about when and whether to receive compensation for loss of income is still the norm for those affected by factory incidents in Bangladesh. In the absence of a permanent solution for compensation for injuries and damages caused by industrial incidents, full and fair compensation is still usually reached only after a long struggle by workers, their representatives and international allies. In many cases of small factory incidents affected families are not compensated at all.

The compensation arrangements set up after the Tazreen factory fire and the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse, based on ILO Convention 121, laid the groundwork for a more structural and permanent solution in the form of a National Employment Injury Insurance Scheme. Such a scheme, however is still in progress of being developed, which leaves affected families facing the same uncertainty as in the pre-Tazreen and Rana Plaza era. Clean Clothes Campaign is therefore advocating a bridging solution to be established as soon as possible to cover those affected by factory incidents until the time that such an Employment Injury Insurance scheme is operational.

For those affected by the Tazreen fire, the struggle for compensation for loss of income is over, but nevertheless their struggle for full justice continues. Delwar Hossain, the owner of Tazreen Fashions, still has not been held to account for the negligence which directly contributed to the deaths of these workers.

Today, we commemorate those workers that died and were injured on 24 November 2012 and we pledge our continued solidarity with the affected families and survivors. Our thoughts however also go to all those workers that were killed in factory incidents since and we continue our struggle for proper compensation mechanisms for workers in the Bangladeshi garment industry.