April 17, 2006
Spectrum factory worker, Bangladesh
One year ago, 64 workers were killed, 74 injured, and hundreds left jobless when the Spectrum-Shahriyar garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed.
The Spectrum factory collapse was not a natural disaster; the deaths and injuries were entirely preventable. As is all too common in the Bangladeshi garment export industry, the factory owners had blatantly violated building code and health and safety regulations, the Bangladeshi government had failed to enforce those regulations, and European retailers sourcing from the factory had failed to detect the serious problems at Spectrum.
On April 11, garment workers in Bangladesh and labour rights activists in Europe commemorated the one-year anniversary of the Spectrum tragedy by staging street actions, public events and candlelight vigils, demanding adequate compensation for the victims and drawing public attention to new incidents at other factories in the past six weeks that have left more workers dead and injured.
In Canada, MSN is calling on all Canadian retailers whose clothes are made in Bangladesh to work with other buyers and local and international unions and NGO to support the creation of a credible and comprehensive safety program in Bangladesh so that tragedies like Spectrum never happen again.