Dangerous garment factories are still a reality in Bangladesh as yet another fire erupts in Dhaka’s garment district.
The fire at Matrix Sweaters broke out early in the morning on 2 February, before the 6,000 workers had started their shifts. Media reports that ten to 15 people were injured when fighting the blaze.
According to media in Bangladesh another fire had broken out, and been extinguished, in the same factory five days prior to the blaze on 2 February.
Accord signatories H&M and JC Penney are among the confirmed buyers from the factory, which was inspected by the Accord in October 2015.
Inspecting the factory after the fire, the Accord found the factory “behind schedule on a number of other life safety items such as installation of sprinkler and automatic fire alarm system, removal of all lockable gates, and electrical items”.
Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union and one of the architects of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, says that the fire highlights the race against time to make Bangladesh’s garment factories safe.
“It has been nearly three years since the Rana Plaza collapse and factories are still unsafe – the factory owners and brands are not doing enough to undertake the corrective action needed.
“We will continue our relentless campaign to ensure that garment workers are not risking their lives when earning a living.”
UNI Global Union Deputy General Secretary Christy Hoffman says:
"The inspection work of the Accord has been completed for some time and – as this fire makes clear- the time for full remediation is long overdue.
"The brands must step up to their responsibility to ensure that their garments are produced in safe factories. UNI, together with IndustriALL, will do all in our power to make sure that this takes place.”