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Three killed in Bangladesh factory fire

1 March, 2022At least three people, including a 15-year old girl, were killed and several others injured, when an illegal shoe factory caught fire on 23 February.

According to reports, the factory, owned by Uniworld Footwear Technology Limited and located in the Ashulia industrial area in Savar, lacked both safety measures and a permit to operate.

Christina Hajagos-Clausen, director of textiles and the garment industry at IndustriALL Global Union, says:

“This tragic loss of lives once again underscores the need to have binding agreement on workers’ safety. The International Accord, which covers ready-made garments, is a proven agreement to do this, but without a global binding agreement covering all product categories, factories and brands, workers in the textile, garment, leather and shoe sector continue to put their lives at risk.”

Local officials vowed to take legal action against the owner of the illegal factory and have promised financial compensation of BDT 25,000 (US$295.57) to the victims’ families.

“Promises of paying compensation to the families each time a worker is killed in a factory fire is not enough. The administration must ensure that penal action is taken against the factory owner for illegal operations,”

says Apoorva Kaiwar, IndustriALL South Asia regional secretary, signatory to the International Safety Accord and member of the RSC.

The International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry currently covers only clothing and textile manufacturers and not footwear. Uniworld Footwear is not a member of the Ready-made Garments Sustainability Council (RSC), a tripartite group of factory owners, brands and trade unions that oversees health and safety mechanisms in the sector in Bangladesh.

Photo: A garment worker who serves as factory-level fire safety facilitator is seen during his shift in a local clothing plant in Bangladesh

Credit: Marcel Crozet / ILO