Bangladesh exports about $18 billion worth of garments and is a big supplier to companies like Walmart, H&M and Tommy Hilfiger. Workers in the country’s factories are among the lowest-paid in the world with entry-level workers making a government-mandated minimum wage of about $37 a month.
Need I take the guise of Captain Obvious and point out that that’s why these garments are so inexpensive? Didn’t think so.
As the story reports, the workers had no chance:
“The main difficulty was to put out the fire; the sufficient approach road was not there,” said the retired official, Salim Nawaj Bhuiyan, who now runs a fire safety company in Dhaka. “The fire service had to take great trouble to approach the factory.”
“The factory had three staircases, and all of them were down through the ground floor,” said Maj. Mohammad Mahbub, the operations director for the fire department, according to The Associated Press. “So the workers could not come out when the fire engulfed the building.”
BTW, there was not a single emergency exit in the entire plant.
According to the Associated Press article, Bangladesh has some 4,000(!) garment factories. Does anyone think that any of the other 3999 are safer than this one? Does anyone think that the Bangladeshi government gives two shits about safety or wages? When such factories bring $18 billion annually to the country (but not to the workers)? Anyone?
Need I take the guise of Captain Obvious and point out that you shouldn’t shop anywhere that exploits workers toiling in unconscionable conditions in order to make the uber-wealthy uber-wealthier?
Well, you shouldn’t.