Bangladeshi onlookers watch Monday as firefighters try and control a fire that broke out at a garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka.(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
DHAKA, Bangladesh -- The garment factory in Bangladesh where a
weekend fire killed at least 112 people had been making clothes for
Wal-Mart without the giant U.S. retailer's knowledge, Wal-Mart said.
said the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory was no longer authorized to
produce merchandise for Wal-Mart but that a supplier subcontracted work
to it "in direct violation of our policies."
"Today, we have
terminated the relationship with that supplier," America's biggest
retailer said in its statement Monday. "The fact that this occurred is
extremely troubling to us, and we will continue to work across the
apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in
The blaze on Saturday was one of the deadliest fires
at a garment factory in Bangladesh and highlighted how its garment
factories often ignore safety in the rush to supply major retailers in
the U.S. and Europe. More than 300 people have died over the past six
years in garment factory fires in the South Asian country.
of the weekend fire said an exit door was locked, fire extinguishers
didn't work and apparently were there just to impress inspectors, and
that when the fire alarm went off, bosses told workers to return to
their sewing machines. Victims were trapped or jumped to their deaths
from the eight-story building, which had no emergency exits.
Monday, about 15,000 Bangladeshi workers protested blocks from the
gutted building in the Dhaka suburb of Savar, demanding justice for the
victims and improved safety. Some 200 factories were closed for the day
after the protest erupted. Demonstrators blocked a major highway, threw
stones at factories and smashed vehicles.
Labor leaders hope
outrage over the latest disaster will prompt change. Tahmina Rahman,
general secretary of the Bangladesh Garment Workers Federation, said
government needs to do more to punish factories for safety lapses.
owners go unpunished and so they don't care about installing enough
security facilities," she said. "The owners should be held responsible
and sent to jail."