News Release

Bangladesh Workers Were “Ordered Back to Work” Before Building Collapse

CHARLES KERNAGHAN, BARBARA BRIGGS, bbriggs at glhr.org, @IGLHR
Kernaghan and Briggs are with the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights. Kernaghan said today: “Our staff are on the ground. The garmentworkers saw the crack yesterday and refused to work. A Savar subdistrict officer came and told the owners that the building was unsafe. This morning the factory owners told the workers that ‘some cracks will not be a problem.’ They ordered the workers back to work. The factory collapsed an hour later.

“An eight-story building named Rana Plaza in the Savar neighborhood on the outskirts of Dhaka collapsed at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday. At least 105 garment workers are confirmed dead and the death toll is constantly rising. An estimated 1,000 workers have been injured, many badly in need of blood transfusions. There were approximately 2,500 workers in the Rana Plaza building, of whom 600 have been rescued. Many are still trapped inside.

“There were four garment factories in the eight story building: New Wave Style, Ether Tex, Canton Tech Apparel and New Wave Bottoms. The Children’s Place and Cato [fashions] are major clients of the collapsed factories.

“Our staff found worker ID cards in the rubble and are praying that the workers are safe. Bangladesh is tragically known for its lack of proper building codes combined with out-of-control graft. It is the workers who pay the ultimate price. Another 70 garment workers were killed in the same area in Savar in 2005 when another multiple story garment factory collapsed. Our Bangladesh staff is on the ground at the collapsed factory and we will continue to put out more updates.” See here for updates.