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Deadly factory fire again underlines importance of Bangladesh Accord

9 October, 2013Last night, 8 October, at least 9 people were killed in a factory fire at Aswad Composite Mills of the Palmal Group in the Gazipur district near Dhaka. IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union confirm their commitment to the comprehensive 5-year plan of the Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

The IndustriALL Bangladesh Council of trade union affiliates is working to assist the humanitarian relief effort following the fire that also injured a reported 50. The joint IBC team is working with both the families of the victims and the injured workers. This effort will coordinate with the labour ministry and the employer associations BGMEA and BKMEA.

135 workers of the factory complex's 2,000 strong workforce were inside the two-story building when the blaze took hold around 5.30pm.

Investigations are ongoing and we must wait to learn the causes of the fire. The Gazipur factory fire is shocking, but not surprising. The Bangladesh government has estimated that at least 50% of the country’s garment factories are dangerous.

IndustriALL Global Union General Secretary Jyrki Raina said,

This is a truly shocking tragedy. It underlines the need for urgent action to make the safety improvements that are so badly needed in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment factories. Through the Bangladesh Accord, we will be doing our utmost to make progress as quickly as possible, so that we can avoid tragedies like this in the future.

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said,

The Bangladesh Accord, by bringing together industry and trade unions, will help to ensure that long-overdue safety improvements are made. We know the size of the task ahead, sadly emphasised by the Gazipur fire. We must deliver collectively for the sake of the Bangladeshi garment workers and their families.

As the latest tragedy unfolds, work around the Rana Plaza compensation negotiations continues. Talks chaired by the ILO took place yesterday, with brands, IndustriALL, CCC, Bangladesh government, BGMEA, and Bangladeshi unions in attendance physically or via video link. Primark has taken the lead in the response so far ensuring that 3,630 families and injured will have received full 6-month salaries until the end of October.

Press Contacts:

Tom Grinter, IndustriALL, Mobile: +41 79 693 44 99, 
[email protected]

Richard Elliott, UNI Global Union, Mobile: +41 79 794 9709, [email protected]