Features

Canada’s Joe Fresh manufacturing factory collapses in Bangladesh

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By: Zahra Syed On Wednesday of this week, a building complex which housed several garment factories including Canada’s Joe Fresh brand collapsed near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Hundreds of workers were trapped inside with the death toll nearing almost 200 people as of this morning. The search for survivors continues, more then 24 hours after the 8-story building cracked and toppled to the ground, pinning workers under mounds of rubble. Sumi, a  25-year-old survivor, was sewing jeans on the 5th floor with at least 400 others when the building fell. Rescue search teams cut holes in the jumbled mess of concrete and rubble with their bare hands and tools, passing water and flashlights to those pinned inside. “I heard them cry, we can’t leave them behind this way, ” said fire official Abul Khayer. bloggg
Workers at the near by, Rana Plaza said that large cracks had been visible in the building’s structure ahead of the collapse, but factory managers had told them that it was still safe to go inside. Survivors from the incident described hearing a loud crack before the complex crashed down in a matter of seconds. Home Minister Khan Alamgir told reporters that the building had violated construction code and that “the culprits would be punished.”
Thousands of workers inside this Bangladeshi building hemmed and sewed clothing for various international clothing brands, including Loblaw Cos.’ Joe Fresh and Associated British Foods Plc’s Primark. It was Loblaws’ belief that all was well in their factories located in Bangladesh, however how fair is this assumption? The fact that numerous North American companies seek offshore manufacturers is well known, as they keep the costs of doing business down. Employee wages may stay low and these savings mean consumers can buy sweaters for $20, a fraction of what it would cost otherwise. blo2 Both companies issued statements about how they are trying to do everything in their power to assist those affected by the incident and will further review their approach and standards of production in Bangladesh. “We are extremely saddened to learn of the collapse of a building complex in Bangladesh and our condolences go out to those affected by this tragedy,” Joe Fresh said in a statement issued on their Facebook page. Their company standards specifically prohibit abuse or forced labour. Loblaws said "Fair Pay" and safety regulations are always enforced, "we audit against these standards on a regular basis." The building complex also supplied business such as The Children's Place, Benetton, and perhaps even brands carried at Walmart.

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