Major Fire at Bangladesh Sweater Factory Raises Questions About Safety Concerns
A massive fire broke out Tuesday morning at a Bangladeshi sweater factory that supplies Western retailers H&M and J.C. Penney. The conflagration injured at least four people, but according to global labor rights advocates, barely escaped inflicting tragedy on a much deeper scale: Most of the factory’s more than 6,000 workers had not yet showed up to work.
“Had the fire started even one hour later ... the risk of death would have been extreme,” read a statement from the Clean Clothes Campaign, the International Labor Rights Forum, the Maquila Solidarity Network and the Worker Rights Consortium.
The incident, at the Matrix Sweater Factory in Gazipur, occurred just days after the labor groups released a report criticizing delays in safety improvements at H&M suppliers in Bangladesh.