About two months before the infamous factory fire at Tazreen Fashion in Bangladesh, the first week of October 2012, the Owner of Tazreen sacked over 300 workers from his factory saying that those workers entered the factory gates after 08:00 am.
Our sources inform that this mass termination was concocted due to the lack of sufficient work at hand at Tazreen then. The frenetic jobless individuals accosted the factory gates to peacefully come to a solution with the management, but they were shooed off by the area police of Nishchintapur and extra-legal forces hired by the owner.
The same scenario occurred in the last week of October in the case of 400 workers after they returned to Dhaka from their villages after the Eid holidays. Following the same excuse of entering the factory gates even a minute after 08:00 am would cause the termination of employment at Tazreen. For days the desperate individuals pled with the management in vain. None of their pleas were heard. Rather suppressed by the local goons and police brought by the owner to ‘control the mob’.
More than 700 ex-workers from Tazreen went hay-wire for unemployment. Many went back home to their villages empty-handed and devastated.
When the blazing catastrophe of November 24th demanded media attention, all the above incidents went unheard. Media published 124 deaths by the fire, when over 1700 were missing from the fire’s Day one.
It was not mentioned by print and/ or electronic media that no Over-Time work was done ever since the start of November 2012 until the 24th. The workers were informed later in the day to ‘keep working’ when the fire alarm would go off to test the ringing volume. Until the smoke stifled the helpless workers, no one made a move as per instructions. The factory collapsible gates were closed shut and no one made it out that night.
The Compensation of BDT 6 Lakhs was rendered by the Government, the owner, Premier Bank Limited and Exim Bank Limited to the families of the 44 deceased only.
Till date, no Brands have made a move toward the compensation for the bereaved.
The RISE Team