Bangladesh factory warned twice on safety

2012-12-13 12:03
Bangladeshi firefighters try to extinguish a fire at the nine-storey Tazreen Fashion plant in Savar. (File, AFP)

Bangladeshi firefighters try to extinguish a fire at the nine-storey Tazreen Fashion plant in Savar. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • The Wal-Mart Effect
    This text is an intimate look at a business that is dramatically reshaping the American economy. Now R195.00
    buy now
Dhaka - The Bangladeshi factory producing clothes for Wal-Mart Stores before a November fire that killed 112 workers was operating without a safety license and had been warned twice to improve conditions there, an emergency services official said.

"We refused to renew the license because there was a lack of fire safety measures," Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah, director general of the Fire Service and Civil Defence said in Dhaka on Monday.

"The fire safety certification expired on June 30, but the department did not renew it because fire safety provisions had not been put in place," he said. He added that in July a reminder had been sent to the management of the factory, which is owned by the garments manufacturer Tuba Group.

An official at Tuba Group declined to comment on the status of the license at the time of the fire.

Mahbubur Rahman, a Fire Service and Civil Defence inspector who visited the utility, said the factory managers "did not respond to our notices and did not pay heed to our suggestions".

After the 24 November blaze at the Tazreen Fashions factory in an industrial suburb of the Bangladeshi capital, both Wal-Mart and Sears Holdings admitted that their goods were being manufactured at the workshop even though both had specifically denied it authorisation as a supplier.

Sub-contractor

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, said one of its suppliers - now known to be Success Apparel, a company based in New York City's Garment District - had subcontracted work to the factory without authorisation and would no longer be used. Wal-Mart has not confirmed the name of the supplier, but Success has identified itself.

Success, in a statement, said it placed an order with an approved Wal-Mart manufacturer, Simco Bangladesh Limited, and only found out after the fire that the manufacturer had sub-contracted to the parent company of Tazreen Fashions.

"We are saddened by this tragic event and want to clearly state that Success was neither aware of nor in any way has authorised the production of our garments in the factory where this tragedy occurred," the company said. "This factory is not on our matrix and we have never done business with them."

Shahidullah said that although it was strictly illegal for Tazreen to continue production without a safety certificate, the authorities had given it a reasonable period to comply after the certificate expired.

Bangladesh's garment industry, which accounts for 80% of the country's $24bn annual exports, has become the mainstay of an economy that was once dependent on aid.

However, rights groups like the International Labour Rights Forum say that low wages and sub-standard safety conditions remain a problem among many of the country's roughly 3 000 apparel factories because end-buyers squeeze them for rock-bottom production costs.

Action against inspectors

Shahidullah said an inspection of close to half of the 574 garment factories in the same area as Tazreen Fashions since the blaze had found that 30% did not have fire-safety licenses, adequate fire extinguishers, hose pipes, water supplies and workers trained in emergency procedures.

"Action will be taken against those inspectors who issued licenses without verifying the fire safety measures," he said.

Tazreen Fashions was producing clothes for Wal-Mart at the time of the fire because Tuba - which owns several factories - had been sub-contracted by Simco to handle 7% of an order of 360 000 pieces.

Simco Chairperson Muzaffar Siddique said when his company learnt that Tuba Group had diverted that work, 25 000 pieces, from its mother factory - which was certified under a Walmart audit as compliant - to Tazreen Fashions, he sought to have the fabric returned.

Simco received most of it back and was seeking assistance from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to get the rest of the work stopped.

A BGMEA vice-president, SM Mannan, confirmed that Simco had sought the association's help with the order from Success Apparel, and it had been trying to intervene when the disaster struck.

Read more on:    walmart  |  bangladesh
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

7 tips for the ultimate family camping trip

Taking the kids on a camping trip can be one of the most memorable holidays they will ever have!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

BASE jump off the world’s tallest building!
Stand up paddler rides over shark!
Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and reset...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.