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press release 11-4-2006


International Actions Mark One-Year Anniversary of Spectrum Tragedy

Sweeping changes still needed to stop ongoing deaths, injuries of garment workers

Amsterdam, April 11, 2006 – Bangladesh garment workers and labour rights activists take to the streets today to mark the one-year anniversary of the Spectrum factory collapse (64 dead, more than 70 injured, hundreds left jobless). With street actions, public events, and candlelight vigils activists in Bangladesh, Europe, and North America will denounce the failure to adequately compensate survivors and families of the dead, as well as the ongoing unsafe state of the garment sector where new incidents in the past six weeks have left more workers dead and injured.

One year after the deadly collapse of the Spectrum Sweater factory in Savar, Bangladesh only three companies producing at the factory — Inditex (Spain), New Wave Group (Sweden), and Solo Invest (France) — have pledged to contribute into a fund to compensate survivors and families of those who died at the factory that produced their garments. Wide-scale structural health and safety improvements to the garment industry have yet to be enacted, despite numerous calls from trade unions and NGOs for such changes. [For a complete overview of this case see www.cleanclothes.org/appeals.htm]

Spectrum, and the adjoining Shahriyar Fabric, produced orders for a wide range of European companies; those who have not committed to the compensation trust fund include: Carrefour, CMT Windfield (France), Cotton Group (Belgium), KarstadtQuelle, New Yorker, Bluhmod (Germany), and Scapino (Netherlands). [For a complete list of buyers at Spectrum-Shahriyar please see www.cleanclothes.org/news/05-07-13.htm]

Sadly, the lesson of Spectrum — that action is urgently needed to improve conditions for garment workers in Bangladesh — has so far gone unheeded: in February and March alone new incidents at four factories producing for various US and European clients left an estimated 88 workers dead (one as young as 12 years old) and more than 250 injured.

“Exits blocked with boxes, locked gates, or just one narrow staircase for thousands of workers — in case of fire this means certain death for the young women and men at the Bangladesh factories where clothes for European shops are made,” noted Amirul Haque Amin of the National Garment Workers Federation in Bangladesh, adding that faulty wiring and unsound structures are also problems common in garment production units in Bangladesh. “We will keep pushing until this situation is improved.”

Part of today’s anniversary actions — including public various events in Bangladesh, as well as actions at Bangladesh Embassies and at retailers in Europe – will focus on the demand that all companies sourcing garment production in Bangladesh have a responsibility to immediately take steps to see that a credible and comprehensive safety programme is put into effect to ensure that tragedies like Spectrum never take place again.

“Today, the CCCs throughout Europe, in solidarity with the workers and their organisations in Bangladesh, are saying ‘enough is enough’,” explained Tessel Pauli of the CCC International Secretariat. For the past year the CCC network has supported demands from Bangladesh unions and NGOs. “We hope to send a clear message to industry and the government that this just can’t go on — changes have to be made and delaying any further means more will die or be injured.”

The report "Spectrum: One Year After the Collapse” released today by the CCC International Secretariat highlights the failures of local public authorities and industry at all levels to properly ensure safety at Spectrum Sweater and throughout the sector. For a complete list of outstanding demands, please see this report [www.cleanclothes.org/urgent/06-04-06.htm].

For information on actions taking place in specific countries today, please call the CCC International Secretariat or the CCC in your country (contact info available at www.cleanclothes.org/contacting.htm).

For more information contact:
CCC International Secretariat
Tel: +31-20-412-2785
E-mail: info@cleanclothes.org
Website: www.cleanclothes.org

The Clean Clothes Campaign is an international network of trade unions and NGOs that aims to improve conditions and empower workers in the global garment industry.

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