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2nd Deadly Fire in Bangladesh Factory Moves Global Union to Action

Following a deadly fire at the Smart Garments factory in Bangladesh last Saturday (Jan. 26th), Spanish retailer  Inditex will send a commission from the IndustriALL global trade union to “examine the situation and discuss necessary measures to minimise the effects of the incident to the victims,” according to statement from the union.

In the aftermath of the fire, garments made for the brands Bershka and Lefties were discovered in the factory–both of which are owned by Inditex. The factory was unauthorized to make clothing for Inditex, but had been surreptitiously subcontracted by a supplier, violating their agreement. This, of course, echoes the death of 112 workers in a factory fire at Tazareen Fashions in Bangladesh, which was manufacturing Walmart clothing unbeknownst to the retail giant.

“As in the Tazreen Fashion case, poor safety conditions resulted in a tragedy at Smart Fashion,” said Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL. “The incident demonstrates the difficulties major companies have in controlling their global supply chains.”

Already, Inditex has suspended two suppliers suspected of contracting with Smart Garments, Wonnever and Centex Textile & Apparels Limited. The visit to Bangladesh from IndustriALL will follow an International Labor Organization conference in Dhaka this week, which aims to create a strategy to improve safety, raise the minimum wage, and prevent unauthorized subcontracts.

The average pay for Bangladeshi factory workers is $38 per month, or one-third of official living wage.