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Global unions call for measures after Tazreen fire

Tazeen Bangladesh fire, November 2012

On November 24, 2012, fire broke out in the Tazreen Fashion factory in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. At least 125 people were confirmed dead in the fire, and at least 200 were injured. Workers struggled to leave, finding locked doors and no emergency exits, which left them trapped inside the factory as it burned.

News release from the International Transport Workers’ Federation:

Three powerful global union organisations, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), UNI Global Union and IndustriALL Global Union are demanding that Walmart act to prevent deadly working conditions.

This call comes following the recent tragic fire at Tazreen Fashions in Bangladesh, which produced Faded Glory brand clothing. The global unions are asking Walmart to provide fair redress for the victims, to support a full and transparent investigation, and to adopt meaningful measures to prevent future incidents. They want a timely public announcement of these measures.

The announcement came as several shipments of clothing bound for Wal-mart from the Tazreen factory were due to arrive on the US East Coast.

“Terrible and preventable accidents like the Tazreen fire are the responsibility of the big companies who create the supply chain. Unions involved along the chain ­ whether in manufacture, transport or retail, are joining together to call for safety and justice for workers like the Tazreen victims,” said ITF acting general secretary Stephen Cotton. “As global unions we speak with one voice ­and we are determined to effect change and stamp out unnecessary tragedies like this,” he added.

Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union commented: “Wal-mart and other brand owners and retailers profiting from the textile industry in Bangladesh must reveal their list of suppliers in full transparency and verify the safety standards and workers’ rights at the factories they are sourcing from. Walmart must ensure their pricing and sourcing policy is based on their suppliers complying to safe working conditions so that a tragedy such as the one at Tazreen Fashions does not occur again.”

UNI Global Union General Secretary, Philip Jennings said, “UNI, the ITF and IndustriALL are making this call jointly because we and our affiliate unions and their members have all experienced the negative effects of Walmart’s irresponsible behaviour all along the supply chain. The UNI Walmart Global Union Alliance which brings together Walmart workers from around the world is backing this call for justice for the Tazreen victims and improved safety in factories manufacturing Walmart products. The victims and families of the Tazreen tragedy deserve no less.”

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