At least 112 workers were killed in the fire on 24 November at the Tazreen Fashions garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Every year dozens are killed in such fires. They are murdered by a venal system overseen by culpable individuals.
The mainly women workers were caught out when a fire broke out on the ground floor of the factory. There were no emergency exits. Some workers jumped out of windows to their deaths. Rescue workers have found many unrecognisable bodies; families will not even be able bury their dead relatives.
At least 3.5 million workers across over 4,000 factories work in Bangladesh’s garment industry. They often work up to 14-16 hour days. The garments are mainly sold to retailers in the west including Walmart (Asda), Primark, Tesco and the Arcadia group.
The owners of this factory and others, and the ruling class politicians, have tolerated wilful violations of poorly enforced safety and health and conditions. They have not acted after previous incidents and need to be held to account for these deaths.
The major western brands say they inspect the factories and want to improve conditions. However their inspections are often announced. Cosmetic changes are made and factories “pass”.
If a t-shirt cost £3 in British shops, you can imagine how little goes to workers’ wages, or maintaining safety standards.
The board of Tesco, Walmart, Primark and Arcadia are well aware of the conditions within the factories and the deaths in factory fires in Bangladesh and other countries like Pakistan. They would rather continue to extract vast profits so they turn a blind eye; they have blood on there hands.
Unions like the National Garment Workers Federation are organising mainly women workers for better pay and conditions and have led strikes. We must give practical solidarity to these workers and aid their fight.
We also have a duty to hold the blood-drenched directors of major retailers to account.
Our best strategy is to organise UK shopworkers and distribution workers to fight for their own pay and conditions and fight with their brother and sister workers throughout the distribution chain to build solidarity
To stop such atrocities, the only sane thing to do is overthrow the murderous rule of profit and institute the international rule of the working class.