This situation was brought to my attention by the Toronto Star newspaper based in Toronto, Canada. That is the reason I like to read foreign press reports.
When governments do not protect their citizens who will? We all remember the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh which took the lives of 1,129 people and injured thousands more on April 24, 2013. That was not the first time there have been building code violations. Corruption and bribery in Bangladesh is well known.
Historically the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911 in Brooklyn New York killed 145. High levels of corruption in both the garment industry and city government generally ensured that no useful precautions were taken to prevent fires. The Triangle Shirtwaist factory’s owners were known to be particularly anti-worker in their policies and had played a critical role in breaking a large strike by workers the previous year.
Finally the Bangladesh issue is being addressed, but not by their government. A North American-led group of companies operating in Bangladesh said Friday, July 11 2014, that it had closed or partially shut seven factories for remediation after inspectors found structural problems and safety concerns.
The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety said it will extend compensation to workers for up to four months if they are unable to work due to the closures.— The current group of 26 includes the following companies: Ariela and Associates International LLC; Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited; Carter’s Inc.; The Children’s Place Retail Stores Inc.; Costco Wholesale Corporation; Fruit of the Loom, Inc.; Gap Inc.; Giant Tiger; Hudson’s Bay Company; IFG Corp.; Intradeco Apparel; J.C. Penney Company Inc.; The Jones Group Inc.; Jordache Enterprises, Inc.; The Just Group; Kohl’s Department Stores; L. L. Bean Inc.; M. Hidary & Company Inc.; Macy’s; Nordstrom Inc.; Public Clothing Company; Sears Holdings Corporation; Target Corporation; VF Corporation; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; YM Inc.
The four months compensation is a wonderful gesture. My question is what will those workers do to make a living if building owners and manufacturing businesses do not co-operate? As poor as their pay may be it is more than they earned before the factories came to Bangladesh.