Mirpur Factory Fire Shows Poor Safety Standards; Badda Factory Protests Show Poor Security for Workers

After the recent fire in Cordial Design Limited at Mirpur-1 on 31 August 2014, workers, intellectuals and worker rights organizations have expressed their deep concern and frustration over the safety situation of Garment factories even after disasters like Tazreen, Rana Plaza, Tun-Hai and Aswad.

Fire broke out at 5:45PM in the evening at the storeroom of Cordial Design Ltd housed on the third floor of an eight-storied building at Shah Ali Bagh area of Sector-1, Mirpur. 12 Units of Fire Fighters arrived within minutes and doused the fire in 30 minutes.

Workers trapped inside were those who were supposed to do overtime, and had to made a daredevil escape with the help of common people in neighboring buildings.

Workers Escape Cordial Design Ltd

                                  Workers Escape Cordial Design Ltd

Apart from the safety, Bangladesh seem to be plunged in the nightmarish conditions of worker security due to the brutal worker rights abuse consistently downplaying the industry’s repeated promises of improvement to Bangladeshis and foreign stake holders of this important sector.

After the unresolved issue of Tuba Group, where the factory owner closed down his factory with sheer injustice, pointing out to a law which is easily being abused in its definition to harm workers rights [1], we have more upsetting conditions in other parts of Dhaka.

Today, 2 September 2014, Update Garments Limited in Dhaka’s North Badda area burst in protest against what the workers termed as unlawful sacking of 35 of their colleagues. Workers complained the risks they had to take to protest as the owner had access too, and some confirmed that he was using, extra legal forces to disrupt the protest of workers and disperse them.

While the BGMEA is continuously accusing the Accord and the Alliance for closing down factories, and specially the Accord for what the BGMEA terms “lack of interest to compensate workers for their losses”, it certainly is missing the part where the BGMEA itself – the apex Garment body and responsible for its activities – is in gross negligence of its own responsibilities towards the workers and the increasing lawlessness and unacceptable behavior of the owners which are its members. 

With the Tazreen, Rana Plaza, Tuba Group, and Aswad compensations still not complete, Bangladesh looks forward with unease on its most prized industry and the growing number of ethical and moral questions plaguing it and threatening its stability.

RISE Society.

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[1] Bangladesh Labor Law 2006 (amendment 2013), Section 13 (1)(2)(3).

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Posted in Garment Worker Issues

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