Oxfam's response to the latest garment factory fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Published: 10th October 2013

In response to the latest garment factory fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Oxfam GB Ethical Trading Manager, Rachel Wilshaw said:

"This latest tragedy at Aswad Composite Mills underlines the urgent need to change the way these factories are built and ensure that safety is the primary day-to-day concern of those operating them. It is deplorable that the shocking loss of more than 1300 lives when Rana Plaza collapsed in April was not enough to prevent further tragedies. The Government in Bangladesh, which has the second largest garment industry in the world, has acknowledged that at least 50 percent of factories are dangerous."

Oxfam understands that several well-known brands were sourcing from the factory, despite their commitment to ethical good practice as set out in the Ethical Trading Initiative base code. They include some of the 90-plus companies which have signed up to the legally binding Accord on Building and Fire Safety in Bangladesh and those (primarily US) companies which have declined to join the Accord and set up an industry led Alliance.

Wilshaw said: "It is vital that any brands sourcing from the Aswad factory follow the higher standards negotiated within the Accord and that compensation and medical assistance to workers and their families are provided in an adequate and timely way, in conjunction with the global union IndustriALL and other Accord members."

Contact information

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Jonaid Jilani on 01865 472 193 or 07810 181 514 or jjilani@oxfam.org.uk

Notes to Editors

Recent factories where loss of life has occurred in Bangladesh include:

  • Tazreen factory, November 2012 (122 workers killed),
  • Rana Plaza, April 2013 (more than 1300 workers killed),
  • Smart Garments, February 2013 (9 workers killed) and
  • Tung Hai, May 2013 (9 workers killed).

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