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Bangladesh Charges 13 in Deadly Factory Fire

Owners, employees could face life in blaze that killed 112

(Newser) - Police charged the owners of a Bangladeshi garment factory and 11 employees with culpable homicide today for alleged negligence leading to the death of 112 workers in a raging fire that engulfed the factory last year . It was the first time Bangladeshi authorities had sought to prosecute factory owners in... More »

I Went Undercover at a Bangladesh Sweatshop

Canadian reporter goes undercover alongside 9-year-olds for $25 a month

(Newser) - With the safety (or lack thereof) of Bangladesh sweatshops in the headlines , Canadian journalist Raveena Aulakh decided to experience the conditions at factories that make our clothes firsthand, in a report for the Toronto Star . The first surprise? The worker showing her the ropes, Meem, was a 9-year-old girl, who... More »

US to Drop Cushy Trade Deal for Bangladesh

But move to punish poor worker safety is largely symbolic

(Newser) - In the wake of the deadliest garment industry disaster in history , the Obama administration plans to suspend Bangladesh's preferential trade treatment, sources tell the Wall Street Journal . The US currently has a "global system of preferences" that exempts certain developing countries from tariffs, including Bangladesh. Nine Senate democrats... More »

Families Rage Over China Plant Inferno

Building where 119 died had no fire exits

(Newser) - The 119 workers killed in a poultry plant fire in China died because of greed and corruption, furious relatives say. The disaster—believed to be the worst factory fire in Chinese history—has sparked huge protests in northeast China, the South China Morning Post reports. Survivors say five of the... More »

Another Factory Collapse Kills 2

Cambodian facility makes Asics sneakers

(Newser) - Another factory collapse is in the headlines, this one in Cambodia. The ceiling caved in at a facility outside Phnom Penh that makes Asics sneakers, reports the AP . At least two workers are dead and seven injured. It's not even close to the scale of the disaster in Bangladesh... More »

Worker Walkout Closes Hundreds of Factories in Bangladesh

Meanwhile, clothing companies vow to improve safety in the country

(Newser) - Bangladesh's entire renowned garment manufacturing hub has been shut down indefinitely, after 80% of its workers walked off the job. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association announced its decision to close the almost 500 factories in the Ashulia industrial zone "to ensure the security of our factories,... More »

'I Never Dreamed I'd See Daylight Again'

How a woman survived 17 days under factory rubble in Bangladesh

(Newser) - When the factory came crashing down around her, seamstress Reshma Begum ran from the second floor, where she was working, to a Muslim prayer room in the basement. When the rubble had stopped falling she found herself alive and miraculously uninjured, but trapped in a wide pocket of open space.... More »

Yet Another Bangladesh Factory Fire Claims 8 Lives

Meanwhile, collapse toll reaches 912

(Newser) - The disasters continue at Bangladesh's garment factories. There was the fire that killed more than 100 people late last year; then another fire in January; then the building collapse whose confirmed death toll has reached 912. Now, yet another fire has killed at least eight people in a Dhaka... More »

Bangladesh Toll Passes 600

Architect says Rana Plaza was never meant to hold industrial equipment

(Newser) - Bangladesh officials have now pulled more than 600 bodies from the rubble of the garment factory that collapsed last month, with the official death toll now standing at 610. The collapse now stands as one of the worst industrial accidents ever, reports the AP , and the final body count is... More »

Pope: Doomed Bangladesh Workers Were 'Slave Labor'

As thousands participate in May Day protests in Dhaka

(Newser) - Pope Francis has strong words on the Bangladesh factory collapse that killed at least 402 people: Workers in the doomed factory were living on just $50 a month, which he condemned as "slave labor" at a private mass this morning, the AP reports. The Telegraph has his full quote:... More »

This Is What Your Jeans Really Cost

Bryan Walsh thinks the Bangladesh factory collapse should be a wakeup call

(Newser) - At last count, at least 362 people were killed in the Bangladesh textile factory collapse making it the worst disaster in garment industry history—worse, for example, than the famous 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that prompted a drastic overhaul in American factory safety laws, observes Bryan Walsh at Time... More »

Fire Breaks Out in Bangladesh Factory Rubble

Rescuers created sparks in cutting steel to reach survivors

(Newser) - A fire has broken out in the wreckage of the garment factory that collapsed last week in Bangladesh, with smoke pouring from the piles of shattered concrete and some rescue efforts forced to stop. Officials say the fire broke out because of sparks generated as rescuers tried to cut through... More »

Fleeing Owner of Collapsed Bangladesh Factory Busted

Death toll hits 362 in collapse

(Newser) - The owner of a building that collapsed last week in a deadly heap in a Dhaka suburb was arrested at a border crossing with India today in a dramatic operation by members of an elite commando force, a government minister said. A fleeing Mohammed Sohel Rana was arrested near the... More »

Another Garment Factory Fire Kills 7 in Bangladesh

5 injured in latest blaze

(Newser) - A fire swept through a two-story garment factory in Bangladesh's capital today, killing at least seven female workers and injuring another five, police and fire officials said. The fire at the Smart factory occurred just two months after a blaze killed 112 workers in another factory near the capital... More »

Bosses Held Hostage Over 2-Minute Bathroom Breaks

1K Chinese workers kept 18 managers inside factory for day and a half

(Newser) - Hundreds of Chinese factory workers held their Japanese and Chinese managers hostage for a day and a half over ... strictly timed bathroom breaks. About 1,000 workers at Shanghai Shinmei Electric Company kept the 18 managers inside the factory in Shanghai starting Friday morning until just before midnight Saturday. The... More »

Bangladesh Fire Was No Accident: Report

Inquiry concludes it was an act of sabotage, and that factory was negligent

(Newser) - The fire that killed more than 110 workers at a Bangladesh textile factory last month was the result of a deliberate act of sabotage, an official inquiry into the incident has concluded. Investigators have also concluded that the factory's owners were seriously negligent, and that mid-level factory officials prevented... More »

Burned-Out Garment Factory Lost Fire Clearance in June

And the owner cites 'mental condition' for illegally adding five floors to building

(Newser) - On the heels of one awful revelation , another, and another: It turns out the Bangladesh factory that has now entered the history books as the site of the country's deadliest garment fire lost its fire safety certification five months before the blaze occurred. A fire official told the AP... More »

Bangladesh Fire Victims: We Need Those Jobs Back

Garment factories are among few with stable wages

(Newser) - Dipa Akter, 19, made $57 per month working at the Bangladesh garment factory that was destroyed in a fire last month. She only escaped the fate of 112 of her co-workers by jumping from the third floor after 25 minutes spent desperately trying to get down the stairs. And yet,... More »

Workers: Managers Locked Us in Burning Factory

3 supervisors arrested on suspicion of negligence

(Newser) - Survivors of the devastating Bangladesh garment factory fire tell a harrowing tale to human rights and labor groups: As the alarms sounded, managers—assuming it was a false alarm and not wanting workers to leave—shut the security gates, locking workers inside. The police and fire departments confirmed the "... More »

How Walmart's 'Chain of Deniability' Works

Harold Meyerson explains how company distances itself from poor labor conditions

(Newser) - After the devastating fire at a Bangladesh factory that supplied clothing to Walmart , the company quickly denied any direct link to the factory, blaming a supplier for subcontracting work to the factory without Walmart's knowledge or approval. But "that's the beauty of [Walmart's] chain of deniability,... More »

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