Big Retailers Dodge Blame as Local Owners Face Murder Charges
As a Bangladeshi court hands down charges of murder to local factory owners and managers for their role in a sweatshop fire that killed 112 workers in Bangladesh last year, major western retailers continue to sidestep any responsibility for a series of recent disasters exposing the egregious safety lapses and subsequent deaths that repeatedly occur in their supply chain.
A Dhaka court on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for the owners and four managers of the Tazreen Fashion factory, which produces clothing for over a dozen western brands including Walmart.
The Hindu reports:
Sheikh gave the order after declaring the owners and four managers “fugitives” for failing to appear in court over charges laid by police earlier this month, said prosecutor Anwarul Kabir, who added that all the accused face a maximum life term in prison.
Following the disaster, survivors said that the factory managers “did not allow the workers to escape the fire, saying it was a routine fire drill,” Dhaka police chief Habibur Rahman told AFP at the time, adding that many said they had even padlocked doors.
Police last week said this case may possibly be “the first time a garment plant owner has been charged over a fire” at one of the nation’s 4,500 garment factories, where deadly accidents are common.
Five months following the Tazreen blaze, 1,129 workers were killed in the collapse of the the Rana Plaza garment factory warehouse also in Bangladesh.
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