IGLHR described horrific conditions at Bangladesh's Ashulia district Tazreen Fashion Factory. Wages are some of the world's lowest.
Helpers earn 18 cents an hour ($8.44 a week for 48 hours).
Junior sewing operators earn 21 - 22 cents an hour ($9.85 - $10.69 a week).
Senior sewing operators earn 23 - 26 cents an hour ($11.26 - $12.66 a week).
Workweeks average 72 - 81 hours. Workers get two days off each month. They're cheated on wages. Overtime is mandatory. Complainers are fired. It's at regular pay. Half of it goes unpaid.
Physical abuse is commonplace. Supervisors curse, slap and punch female workers for sewing errors or staying in the bathroom too long.
Maternity leave is denied. So is sick leave. Workers arriving late three times for any reasons are automatically fired.
Workdays run from 8AM - 8PM. An hour for lunch is provided.
Tazreen was authorized to build a three-story factory. It built a nine-story facility. No one in government objected. Safety precautions were ignored. Few fire extinguishers were available. Small ones couldn't be contained. Major blazes assured disaster.
On November 24, fire began on Tazreen's ground floor. Upper floor workers were trapped. At least 112 died. Another 150 were injured. Containing the blaze took hours.
Fire department operations director Major Mohammad Mahbub said Tazreen's building had no escape exits.
"The factory had three staircases, and all of them were down through the ground floor," he said. "So the workers could not come out when the fire engulfed the building. Had there been at least one emergency exit through outside the factory, the casualties would have been much lower."
On November 26, The New York Times headlined "Garment Workers Stage Angry Protest After Bangladesh Fire," saying:
Thousands of workers were involved. Much of Ashulia was paralyzed. Roads were blocked. Many factories closed for a day. On Monday morning, fire broke out in a second garment facility. No casualties were reported.
Bangladesh officials blamed sabotage for both blazes. They lied. Criminal negligence was involved. Company and government officials bear full responsibility.
In 2010, a Hameen factory fire killed 29 workers. Many were locked in. Others jumped to their deaths. Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce head, AK Azad, blamed sabotage. He also lied. Investigations are never conducted.