DHAKA – Campaigners in Bangladesh have called for the death penalty for those found responsible for the deadly fire incident which occurred at Tazreen Fashions factory in Ashulia seven years ago this month. The demands were made by survivors and family members of the 113 workers killed in the fire which wrecked the garments factory in November 2012. They are also demanding adequate compensation for dead victims’ families and survivors, rehabilitation of survivors and the creation of a security fund for factory workers.
It is a huge bone of contention that there is still no system in place offering financial security to workers injured at the workplace and families of workers killed on the job in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment industry. A statement from Clean Clothes on the seven-year anniversary of the tragedy said that years of planning to create a nation-wide employment injury insurance scheme “have still not led to tangible results.”
Amin Amirul Haque, President of the National Garment Workers Federation NGWF said: “The families affected by Tazreen had to wait and struggle for three full years before campaigning had ensured enough resources for their compensation payments. It is inconceivable that while mourning a lost one you also have to scramble for a living, because a factory owner or buyer is not taking responsibility. This lack of predictability is still not solved.”
Christie Miedema at Clean Clothes Campaign added: “It is unfathomable why so many years after the initial commitment, there is still no employment insurance system in place. It is not only very feasible, but moreover benefits everyone: workers and their families will have financial security at a very difficult moment in their lives, factory owners will be able to share responsibility and financial burden, brands and retailers will against low costs be assured that they are fulfilling their due diligence obligations, and the government of Bangladesh will be able to show it is good for its word.
“It is high time that all stakeholders act in their own interest and make this promise into a reality before the next review of Bangladesh’s sustainability promises, which was originally due this year and should now take place before April 2020. The International Labour Organization, apparel companies with major sourcing volumes in Bangladesh, the employers, and the government itself have all indicated their willingness to create such a system. The time to start a phased introduction that can grow into a full-fledged system is now – workers cannot longer wait.”