Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research grieved over factory fire in Bangladesh that killed 120 workers

Karachi, November 27, 2012 (PPI-OT): The Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) has expressed its profound grief and sorrow over the deaths of 120 workers in a garment factory in Bangladesh and offered its condolences to the relatives of the deceased..

In a statement here on Tuesday, PILER condemned industrial incidents and the unnecessary loss of human lives, which occur because of the lack of occupational health and safety measures at work places.

The Tazreen Fashion Limited Bangladesh clothing factory is a multistoried building in which workers were trapped by the fire due to the lack of emergency exits as all three staircases down to the ground floor were closed. Numerous workers lost their lives when they tried to escape through the windows and hit the ground. A similar type of incident happened in Pakistan recently, which caused the deaths of an estimated 300 industrial workers in a garment factory in Karachi.

The Bangladesh factory, which was opened in 2009 and employed 1700 workers, is the subsidiary of the Tuba group which makes products for WalMart, KIK, Carrefour and IKEA.

A statement by PILER claimed that employers have a legal compulsion to provide a safe and secure working environment to all its workers. Bangladesh is the second largest exporter in the world’s garment industry where around 4,000 garment factories earn 20 billion dollars through exports.

A large number of these factories run their enterprises without proper occupational health and safety measures. Since 2006, more than 500 workers have lost their lives in different industrial accidents in Bangladesh. Moreover, the Bangladeshi government has failed to ratify the ILO’s Occupational Health and Safety Convention No. 155.

PILER pointed out that the recent fire incident is a result of the continuing negligence of occupational health and safety rules and existing labour laws and demanded the Bangladeshi government to implement these measure informal as well as informal industrial sectors immediately.

PILER suggested that it is the right time for the government of Bangladesh to ratify ILO Convention 155 which will provide the baseline to address the issue of occupational health and safety at the industrial and enterprise levels.

For more information, contact:
Shujauddin Qureshi
Senior Research Associate
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER)
Tel: +9221 3635 1145 -7
Fax: +9221 3635 0345
Cell: +92300 392 9788

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