Workers seek lost pay compensation
Published 30/11/2012 | 10:24
Hundreds of workers have staged a protest at a Bangladesh factory where 112 people were killed by a fire, demanding compensation for their lost salaries.
An estimated 300 workers chanted slogans in front of the closed Tazreen Fashions factory in a Dhaka suburb. They said they wanted the owner to reopen the factory as quickly as possible or to pay them wages for several months.
The factory was making clothes for Wal-Mart, Disney and other major global retailers. The companies said they did not know their clothes were being made there.
A garment industry group has promised to pay compensation to the families of those killed in the blaze. The factory, which was guarded by police, has been closed since the fatal fire last weekend.
Police have arrested three factory officials suspected of locking in the workers during the blaze. Fire officials said the factory had no emergency exits and workers said yarn and clothes blocked part of a stairway.
But in a sign of how important such jobs are in the impoverished country, the protesters want the factory to reopen.
"We want the owner to reopen the factory as soon as possible or pay us a few months of salary because we have nowhere else to go right at this moment," said Hasan, a worker who escaped the fire and uses only one name.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association said it would pay 100,000 takas (£800) in initial compensation to the families of the dead and would then give them their deceased relative's monthly salary for at least 10 years.
The £12 billion a year garment business represents 80% of Bangladesh's exports.