May 13, 2013
More than one thousand bodies have now been pulled from the rubble of the building that collapsed April 24 in the capital of Bangladesh. The building housed five garment factories employing 3400 workers. The owners had been warned that a wall had serious cracks in it the day before, but one boss ordered his work force back to work. These poor women working for about $40 per MONTH went to work because they desperately needed these wages.
Such factories – with four million workers in Bangladesh – supply clothing to Walmart, Sears, Benetton, Gap and many other big retailers in Europe. The big bosses are quick to try to escape responsibility for conditions of what they call the far end of their supply chain.
Work is organized in poor countries with lax rules on everything from pay to fire safety, because it saves big bosses money. They will happily blame some middle man – some little exploiter – for not enforcing safety, health and labor laws the big exploiters claim to support.
In fact, neither the factory owners nor the authorities take safety seriously. One of the nine people now under arrest was the engineer who warned them that the building was unsafe!
And worse yet – eight more people died this past week in yet another clothing factory fire in Bangladesh.
Thousands of death-trap factories around the world need to be shut down – and capitalists everywhere need to be held accountable for putting profit ahead of human lives.