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Fire attack on Bangladesh garment factory

6th December 2013

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An alleged arson attack by workers has been blamed for a fire which burned down a garment factory in Bangladesh last Friday, police say.

The factory in Gazipur, 40km from Dhaka, which produced clothes for key Western brands, was sent up in flames and left gutted following a loudspeaker announcement informing them of a colleague’s death. There have been no reports of casualties in the fire.

The death resulted from police firing aimed to disperse a road blockade by workers who had clashed with police near the factory on Thursday morning.

The clash had begun when police used tear gas to break up the crowds, but hundreds of workers later gathered and vandalized the factory, set two buildings on fire, and blockaded the road.

The factory belongs to Standard Group of Companies, and president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association Mohammad Atiqul Islam said that it is among the ten largest factories in the country and responsible for 18,000 jobs.

He add: “Now all the workers are at risk of becoming jobless.”

The recent string of incidents in Bangladesh have urged authorities and brands that use the factories to reform the industry that employs four million people and generates 80% of export earnings.

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