Bangladesh Building Collapse

On April 24th, a building housing five garment factories collapsed near Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, in Rana Plaza. Despite cracks on the day before of the accident, workers were ordered to continue their jobs normally. For that reason, 3000 people were trapped inside during the collapse. The death toll has passed 500 but at least 200 are still missing underneath the remains of the building. Bangladesh has one of the largest garment industries in the world, and the clothes produced in the building were made for Western retailers, namely for Primark, Matalan, Mango and other major brands. Since 1980, the government established Export Processing Zones, where labour organisations were banned, and thus the country managed to attract numerous multinational garment firms. We can only hope that this industrial disaster can foster an actual change of policy. The last days have been marked by demonstrations around the country, especially during May Day where 20,000 people demonstrated in Dhaka and in other cities. The reaction of Western countries has been to talk about boycotts. Yet some say Bangladeshi workers need more than boycotts; the best western countries can do is support them in their struggle. Spread the Word.

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