Solidarity Center Mourns Workers Killed in Bangladesh

Another four garment factories in Bangladesh became death traps today, and the Solidarity Center is mourning the senseless loss of life and the grievous injuries that have befallen hundreds of workers who were simply trying to make a living. The organization is calling on the Bangladesh government to enforce its labor and building codes, on brands that source from the country to prioritize health and safety conditions in factories, and on both to respect the rights of workers and to recognize that the only way Bangladesh will have safe factories is if workers have a voice on the job.

At least 80 workers lost their lives and more than 600 people were injured when the eight-story building collapsed, according to the Bangladesh government. Hundreds remain trapped.

“The status quo cannot be that workers have to face death just to try to feed their families,” said Alonzo Suson, Solidarity Center country director in Bangladesh. “How many more workers have to die before the government, the manufacturers and the companies that source from Bangladesh start to obey the law and respect international labor standards?”

According to local news reports, the building had developed cracks that threatened the structure’s integrity on Tuesday. Workers report being forced into the building to work on Wednesday.

For more than two decades, the Solidarity Center has been supporting workers trying to gain their rights in Bangladesh, where the minimum wage for garment workers is less than the World Bank’s international poverty line of $1.25 a day.

A major fire killed at least 112 Bangladeshi garment workers in late November, almost five months to the day of this latest disaster. Since then, there have been more than 41 fire
incidents at Bangladesh garment factories that have killed nine workers and injured more than 660 others, according to data compiled by Solidarity staff.

This Sunday, April 28, workers around the world will mark Workers Memorial Day, which provides a focal point to remember those killed and injured on the job, highlights the preventable nature of most workplace accidents and reiterates calls for workplace safety.