Building number 2 of Liberty Fashion Wears. Ltd. in Zirani Bazar, Savar has been inspected by TESCO to be unfit for workers to be working there. It created a global drive to help create awareness among workers that they should not work in a building that is not suitable to work and might even collapse.
TESCO representatives have been into the factory since a few days.
The owner called in engineers into the factory under the guidance of TESCO, however the factory workers report that these engineers are only masking the factory cracks with sand and cement. The engineers reportedly said (as quoted by sources) “The building is OK, these problems are not so big and this building may last for several more years”.
The workers are scared, they are not confident on how much this move will protect the building from falling.
The workers, mid level management, and supervisors have been requested by the owner to keep working. The owner only informed them that there are some technical problem with the factory and that they are into repairing it.
“Truth is never hidden, it comes out one day or the other…the owner and engineer are hiding the truth from us, but for how many days can they hide it, they are not giving us (the supervisor, line chief, floor in-charge, admin) our wage for this month so that they can make the workers work” quoted a supervisor(requesting anonymity). The rest of the work that is going on in the factory is still being done, the workers have been paid.
The question now arises on why has the supervisors and the mid level management allegedly not been paid while the workers have been paid? – The answer can be that the owner would wish the mid level management to force the workers into work, without directly coercing the workers themselves by denying their wage.
The objective for the owner now is to keep the factory running, mask the problems, and confirm that no shipment can be delayed. The ignorance towards any potential catastrophe sends gives us chilling reminder of Rana Plaza.
“Our wage have been paid, but we do not want to die. They gave our wage but we are scared. Everyday engineers, people from the buyers side, the factory owner are coming to the factory to make repairs. But they are just masking. We know that something is very wrong in this factory, we can feel the tension. But all these things we got from the mid level management being passed on to us secretly. None of the top level management, nor the owner shared with us the true magnitude of the problem. We are afraid, we are in a fix. A dilemma. We need to run our families, we cannot afford to loose our job. Whether we work for the money or run for our lives. We are stuck in a quagmire. The owner keeps telling us ‘Everything is OK, just keep working'” quoted a worker (requesting anonymity).
The awareness process is going on and we need to create awareness among the masses, we all suffer when someone dies in the factory and it is the right of everyone – whether the worker of the factory or not – to know the truth and go whatever possible from their own part to help the precious garment sector from ignorance and thus self inflicted torture.
We call on to TESCO to ensure the workers not working in the factory and supervise the repair job. They must not just leave the workers and the factory repair in the hands of an owner for whom deadline is the lifeline.
ITS HIGH TIME RESPONSIBILITY IS TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY BRANDS AND MANUFACTURERS. JUST MOVING OUT OF FACTORY IS NOT THE SOLUTION.
1. GET THE WORKERS OUT WHILE THE FACTORY IS BEING REPAIRED. FORCE THE
OWNER TO DO SO.
2. SUPERVISE THE FACTORY REPAIR PROCESS.