8th anniversary of Tazreen Garments tragedy : Victims wait for justice
Staff Reporter :
Tuesday was the 8th anniversary of the Tazreen Fashions tragedy.
On November 24, 2012, the deadliest factory fire in the nation's history broke out at Ashulia in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, killing at least 114 people and leaving over 200 injured.
Those who survived from devastated fire gathered in front of the National Press Club on Tuesday, demanding: justice, proper medical treatment, one-time compensation, and accommodation.
Some of the survivors have been there with their demands for more than two months. Hafsa is one of them. She survived the jump, but it cost her a leg - making her handicapped for life. She has yet to receive compensation.
"I have been here [at the Press Club] for two months. When the blaze raged through the building, I jumped from the third floor hoping my family would be able to find my body. Now I am living as a crippled person."
The injured victims of the Tazreen fire incident said they tried to march towards the Gonobhaban, the official residence of the prime minister, at 12pm, but were stopped by police.
Shamim Imam, coordinator of Garment Workers Rights Movement; Shahidul Islam Sabuj, general secretary of the Garment Workers Unity Forum; Shabnam Hafeez, president of Garment Workers Liberation Movement; Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, president of Textile Garment Workers Federation Advocate; Iqbal Kabir, president of Biplobi Chhatra Maitri; and many others were also present at the rally.
Marking the day, labour rights activists also paid tribute to the deceased at the Zurain graveyard on Tuesday morning.
At a brief rally at the graveyard, they said that workers and their families, affected by different accidents at various workplaces across the country, including Tazreen and Rana Plaza, would be compensated on the basis of ILO Convention 121 and the Fatal Accident Act 1855 and workers' compensation for lifelong loss. To this end, a national standard of compensation has to be created, they demanded.
At the same time, the speakers urged for speedy trial of those responsible for the fire at Tazreen Fashions and compensation for the victims in accordance with international standards and long-term treatment of the injured.
They also demanded to bring all workers, both institutional and non-institutional, under labour law, to create national standards of compensation, to conduct nationwide mobile court drives to inspect risky workplaces, including construction, chemical and engineering to ensure safe workplaces for all.
They furthermore asked for the establishment of specialised hospitals for the treatment of injured workers and setting up of special units in hospitals.
Meanwhile, activists and leaders of different labour organizations along with relatives of the victims' of the devastating fire have paid homage to their loved ones marking the eighth year anniversary of the tragic incident.
The mourning crowd placed wreaths at the gate of the factory and prayed for salvation for the victim's of the fire on Tuesday morning.
Tapan Shaha, president at the Textile Garments Workers' Federation said families of the victim's are still living in inhumane conditions due to lack of proper compensation.
Khairul Mintu, organizing secretary of Garments Workers Trade union said despite eight years having passed after the fire that killed hundreds of workers justice has not been ensured.
Leaders and activists of Textile Garments Workers Federation, Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra, Bangladesh Poshak Sramik Trade Union FederationÂ and Bangladesh Srom Institute, were present at the programme among other labour organizations.
Besides, in a statement, Garment Workers Trade Union's President advocate Montu Ghosh and General Secretary Jolly Talukder, strongly condemned and protested the procrastination of the trial of the "murder" of the Tazreen garment workers. Tazreen Fashions was launched in 2009. The factory employed almost 1,630 workers. It manufactured t-shirts, polo shirts and jackets for a variety of companies and organisations, including the US Marines, C&A, Walmart, and the Hong Kong-based Lee & Fung.
Tazreen Fashions was a concern of Tuba Group, which exports garments products to Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands.