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Thousands lose jobs as Bangladesh closes unsafe factory

Bishkek (AKIpress) - Rana Plaza in Bangladesh Several thousand Bangladeshi garment workers have lost their jobs after their factory was discovered with serious safety problems and shut down, Pakistan Observer reported today.

The factory was among hundreds, where workers stitch clothes for Western retailers, targeted by safety experts for inspection in the wake of Rana Plaza building collapse last year that killed 1,135 people.

The team of experts ordered the evacuation of six floors of two adjoining buildings housing clothing firms Softex and Fame Knitting after the inspection last week which discovered serious structural flaws. Softex, a sweater maker and a supplier to French retailer Auchan, shut down immediately, laying off all 3,500 workers, saying “it was risky to continue operations.”

Fame, employing about 2,500 workers, also closed for a few days last week after engineers involved in the inspection requested reduced weight on some of the floors.

Unions criticized Softex and Fame for failing to compensate the workers, but a trade group representing garment factories said retailers must shoulder some of the costs.

Bangladesh is the world’s second biggest clothing manufacturer and the $22 billion sector is the mainstay of the impoverished South Asian nation’s economy.

But the sector has a woeful safety track record, highlighted by the collapse of the Rana Plaza in April last year on the outskirts of the capital, which killed 1,135 people, Bangladesh’s deadliest industrial disaster.


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