Nine people have died following a fire in a Bangladesh factory renewing concerns about the safety of the country’s garment industry that supplies many of the world’s biggest retailers.
The fire broke out at the Aswad factory in Gazipur outside of Dhaka yesterday. The factory has supplied goods to Canadian retailers Loblaw, which owns Joe Fresh, according to shipping data provider ImportGenius.com. The Wall Street Journal reported Aswad had also produced clothes for Wal-Mart.
The deaths come after the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka in April which killed more than 1,100 people.
The disaster led to an industry-wide move to improve safety in the country. Retailers including Primark, H&M, River Island and Arcadia have signed up to the Bangladesh factory safety Accord led by union IndustriALL.
By signing the Accord, retailers agreed to a legally binding pledge to contribute up to $500,000 (£325,000) a year towards rigorous independent factory inspections and the installation of fire safety measures.
Yesterday Primark, which was one of many western retailers which used a factory situated within Rana Plaza, committed to paying six months wages as compensation.
A Primark spokesman said: “Primark takes its responsibilities extremely seriously. To help alleviate short-term hardship, the company is committed to paying six months wages to more than 3,500 Rana Plaza workers, or their families, irrespective of whether they made clothes at Primark’s supplier or for other major high street names.
“Primark is also committed to delivering long-term compensation to the workers employed by its supplier as soon as possible, irrespective of whether other high street names feel able to do the same.”