Pressure for compensation continues for Tazreen Fire brands
“Some workers were thrown out of families because they cannot earn a wage any more and are using expensive medication after the fire. It is shameful that brands make these people, who have often lost loved ones, stand on hold for more than a year.” - Amirul Haque Amin, general secretary of the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF)
The fire started on the ground floor due to an electrical fault, and quickly spread through the building, which had over 1,100 workers inside. Survivors report that they were ordered to keep working after the alarm went off, and that managers even turned up the radio volume to mask the sound of the alarm.
When panic started to spread, workers on the upper floors found out that it had become impossible to escape through the main exit, which was located on ground level where the fire had started. The lights failed and the factory quickly filled with smoke and heat, making it almost impossible to find a way out.
There were insufficient fire escapes, resulting in workers jumping out of the windows of the burning building. Others were burned alive, many of them beyond recognition. Ninety-nine of the bodies have been identified, and the names of 24 missing people have been submitted to the court for investigation.
The Clean Clothes Campaign worked with Bangladeshi partners, the Maquila Solidarity Network, the International Labor Rights Forum and the Worker Rights Consortium to follow up with the buyers in order to ensure compensation for the victims and their families.
As a result, C&A has agreed to pay short-term compensation to families and injured workers, to ensure that all medical costs will be paid, and to provide some long-term compensation to some of the families of deceased workers. Other brands have contributed some money to compensate the families in the short term.
However, a solution for the long-term compensation for all victims has not yet been reached. The disclosure of reports of audits before the fire and of investigation reports after the fire is also being demanded. A task force has been set up to work out the compensation, but this has been halted pending the outcome of the Rana Plaza Compensation Arrangement