Even as the death toll nears 1,000 in the April 24 collapse of a Bangladesh factory, tragedy struck the country again Thursday when eight garment workers were killed in a clothing factory fire. Bangladeshi officials say they don’t yet know the cause of the fire, which occurred overnight on the lower levels of an 11-story garment factory.
The second workplace disaster in as many weeks comes as the world has turned its attention toward factory safety in Bangladesh, a South Asian country that supplies cheap labor to many Western companies. This building reportedly housed a factory for Tung Hai Sweater Ltd., which claims on its Facebook page to be a 700,000-employee garment exporter to major companies in Europe and North America.
A firefighter at the scene told reporters that the workers died from suffocation as they tried to escape the burning building in the industrial district of Dhaka.
A new AFL-CIO report shows most of the major international organizations that certify working and safety conditions in less-developed nations, like Bangladesh, where most global garment manufacturing takes place, receive major funding from the same corporations seeking their “seal of approval.” In many cases such certifications follow cursory—if any—inspections and ignore major safety and health violations.
To see the AFL-CIO report, click here.