Tesco has stopped sourcing clothes from a factory in Bangladesh due to “serious problems” with safety on the site.
Tesco made the decision to cease supplies from the Dhaka building after it carried out a structural survey prompted by the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory where over 1,100 people died when it collapsed in April.
In a statement the grocer said: “A structural survey of a site we source from in Bangladesh, owned by Liberty Fashion, has revealed serious problems with the safety of one of the buildings.”
Mozammel Huq, the owner of Dhaka-based garment maker Liberty Fashion, told Reuters that the building met the required building codes.
Huq said: “I fully followed the building code, so the question does not arise that it is an unsafe building. The building is almost new - one phase I built only five years ago and the other one eight years ago.”
Tesco, which has pledged to conduct structural surveys of all the factories it sources from, said it has stopped using 15 factories of concern in the country in the past year.
The grocer added that it has urged the owners of the Liberty Fashion site to stop all production and to evacuate the premises to protect its workers.
“We immediately made the owners aware of our findings, and tried to find an alternative to ceasing production of Tesco products on this site. We are disappointed that this was not possible…,” Tesco added.
“Our concerns about the structure of this building are so serious that we decided our only option was to stop taking clothes from this site with immediate effect.”
The head of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Mohammad Atiqul Islam, told Reuters that, after Tesco’s decision, he had asked Huq to stop production at the factory if it was unsafe.
Following this request Huq had asked the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology to inspect the building for safety risk and had agreed to shut the factory if it was found to be unsafe and shift to a safe site, Islam said.
“He told us that they took the issue seriously and had already deposited the required money with the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology to examine the level of risk,” he added.
Tesco isn’t the only retailer to conduct surveys on the facories it is supplied from, Primark has begun surveying factories to guarantee their structural integrity.