By Aimee Chanthadaovng
Oxfam is calling on Target Australia to pay compensation to the families of the victims and those injured from the Bangladesh factory fire in Gazipur that killed 10 people and injured an estimated 50 others on Tuesday 8 October 2013.
The Aswad Composite Mills factory that burnt down made clothes for Target in Australia with Woolworths saying it may also have sourced fabric from the factory.
Oxfam Australia’s corporate accountability advisor Daisy Gardener said Target and any other company sourcing from the factory should contribute to compensation, including lost wages and medical treatment, for the injured and the families of the deceased
“This latest tragedy highlights yet again that the business models used by many companies – demanding speedy, flexible production at low prices – helps create poor and often dangerous conditions in supplier factories,” she.
Earlier this year, Target signed the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord, which mandates independent safety inspects and repairs to unsafe factors.
However, Gardener explains the Accord is still in its infancy with independent safety inspections to be rolled out over the next eight months across the 1600 factories that are covered by the agreement
She also said the Accord was designed to pick up fire and safety hazards and stop them before they ended in tragedy.
“Signing on to the Accord is an important step, however companies still have an obligation to ensure that the workers making their goods are not risking their lives in unsafe conditions,” Gardener said.
“This latest fire underscores the importance of the Accord, as without it, there would be no truly independent monitoring now or into the future.”
Oxfam also continues to urge for retailers to publish the locations of their factories, which neither Target nor Woolworths have committed to.
“Supplier transparency is key to enabling independent verification of safety and conditions for workers,” Gardener said.
Since the Rana Plaza disaster almost six months ago, more than 90 brands have joined the legally-binding Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, which aims to tackle the root causes of factory collapses and fires and is jointly governed by brands and trade unions.