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Bangladesh Building Collapse - Stop Murdering Workers 

2013-04-26 - CLEC

The Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) shares our deepest sorrows and sadness with the factory workers and factory workers' families for their loss and suffering experienced in this tragic time. We condemn the utter disregard taken towards the health and safety of the factory workers in the factories housed in the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh, a suburb of the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka. 

Reports state that the Rana Plaza building collapsed on Wednesday April 24 after police orders were given the day before to evacuate the building. The police order was based upon the large cracks found in the building's walls supporting the infrastructure. The orders were ignored and over 2,000 factory workers were brought into work the day of the collapse. The problems occurred in the buildings infrastructure because the building owner was initially only allowed to construct a five-story building but illegally added an additional three stories.   

Bangladesh authorities have claimed that there have been over 270 deaths while more than 2,000 workers have been rescued from the rubble. Early reports state that the factories sourced clothing for several supplier companies including Phantom Apparels, Phantom Tac, Ether Tex, New Wave Style, and New Wave Bottoms. The supplier companies have supplied for Wal-Mart, The Children's Place, Dress Barn, Primark, Mango, Benetton, and Loblaws. It is unclear as of yet what companies actually received products from the factories in Rana Plaza building. 

The raising toll of over 270 deaths due to the collapse of the factory building is intolerable. The callous attitudes taken by the factory owners and, more importantly, the brands have become the norm instead of the exception. This emerging trend cannot continue and should not be accepted. The brands should take their Corporate Social Responsibility serious and not lay false claims to their consumers about the treatment of workers in the supply chain of the clothing purchased with their brand name attached. 

We call for the brands sourcing from the several factories located in the collapsed building to claim responsibility for the preventable and horrific event. The brands, as well as the factory owners, must cover all costs burdened by the workers and the workers' families. Furthermore, the families distressed by the loss of loved ones will now hold a financial weight that must be covered, without question, by the brands and the factory owners. 

Additionally, the Bangladeshi Authorities should be more proactive in ensuring the regulations are capable to protect factory workers and that the repercussions for failing to adhere to the health and safety regulations are strictly enforced. The authorities should hold the actors who are directly responsible for the atrocious events at Rana Plaza building legally liable and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.