Dhaka – Victims of a deadly fire at a garment factory in Bangladesh protested outside the plant on Monday, the second anniversary of the disaster, to demand compensation from Western brands.
Around 100 people marched outside the complex, chanting slogans against the global brands they say have failed to compensate them after the disaster at the Tazreen Fashion factory outside Dhaka that killed 111 workers.
The factory, in the Ashulia industrial district near Dhaka, supplied clothes to a variety of international brands including US giant Walmart, Dutch retailer C&A and ENYCE, a label owned by US rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs.
“It’s been two years since the fire, yet we’ve not seen any compensation for the victims,” said labour leader Taslima Akter, after placing wreaths at the Tazreen ruins.
“The victims have only been given some grants, but it’s not a matter of charity. The brands must come forward with a full package of compensation in accordance with the law,” she said.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said each victim had received 100 000 taka ($1 267) from the government and a manufacturers’ association, but they had spent most of the money within the first year of the disaster on medical costs.
“The victims of Tazreen need a huge amount of support. Many of the survivors might have escaped the flames, but their lives are ruined,” said HRW’s Asia director Brad Adams.
“These global brands should no longer dodge their duty to help these people,” he said.
The Tazreen fire was followed by the world’s worst garment factory disaster five months later when the nine-storey Rana Plaza complex collapsed, killing more than 1 100 workers, near Ashulia.
The twin tragedies highlighted appalling safety conditions in Bangladesh’s $25 billion apparel export industry.
Meanwhile, the Amsterdam-based Clean Clothes Campaign said it had reached an agreement with C&A on compensating the Tazreen victims.
Campaign spokesperson Ineke Zeldenrust said details were still being worked out but it “covers compensation for loss of income, provision of independent medical assessments and ongoing treatment” for survivors.
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