By Laura Gutierrez
On October 29, 2012 a fire broke out in another garment factory in Bangladesh. The factory, Eurotex Knitwear Limited, sits outside of the country’s capital in the area of Narayanganj. The fire began at 2 a.m., just two days after the region’s Eid-ul-adha festivals, and lasted until 8:30 a.m.
Fakrul Alam Majumder, the company’s marketing director, believes high-voltage tube lights initiated the fire. He expects that, left on through the night, the lights ignited near-by polythene and cloth and set fire to the rest of the dying/finishing section. The fire, which destroyed 500,000 ready-made pieces, has stopped production in only the damaged section of the factory while others resumed operation as usual after the holiday on November 3.
The dying/finishing section is expected to reopen on Saturday, November 10th. Until then, 60 to 70 of the nearly 200 workers of the damaged section are now working in other sections of the factory on an irregular basis. The rest of the workers were informed they would work on a stand-by basis, meaning they could be called at any moment to return to work. Despite the unpredictable scheduling, all workers are expected to receive their monthly payment.
While good timing kept the 1700 to 1800 regularly employed Eurotex workers from facing a destructive fire, no one should rely only on good timing or good luck when it comes to their safety at work. The frequency of factory fires in Bangladeshi proves the urgency for change in companies’ approach to fire safety. This incident, in addition to the deadly fires in other factories, should act as a serious wake-up call to every garment-buying company. Help us urge companies to be more proactive about fire safety to ensure that no more fires injure or jeopardize the work of Bangladeshi workers!
Three brothers own Eurotex Knitwear Limited, a company that includes three RMG factories. The Factory is currently supplying to V.F. Corporation, Pierre Cardin, and NKD.
The following companies have also been linked to Eurotex Knitwear Limited:
Takko, Auchan, Orchestra, Earnesting Family, Suncity, Zolla, Lidl, V&D, Rannier (Brazil), Vegotex , Primark, JBC, Li & Fung, Disney, Hello Kitty, Hea Net, Mark One, Mark & Spencer, C&A, Inter Sports, Wal-Mart, Target, Nike.
Laura Gutierrez is an ILRF volunteer, currently based in Dhaka. Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha and The Daily Star have also reported on the fire; please note that the factory name is misspelled in their articles.