Walmart cuts ties with supplier after its garments found in shop where fire killed 112 workers

Photo: International Labor Rights Forum

At The Nation, Josh Eidelson writes about the Walmart apparel found in the ashes after a garment shop fire that killed at least 112 workers in Bangladesh. Walmart now claims it has severed ties with the supplier with whom they had contracted—they claim this company violated Walmart policies by subcontracting to the Tazreen Fashions factory where the fire took place.

The NYT reports that thousands of garment workers protested Monday in Bangladesh, demanding justice for the dead, and safer working conditions for the living.

More at International Labor Rights Forum:

In addition to finding evidence that the factory produced Walmart's Faded Glory brand, researchers found over a dozen other brand logos on clothing and documents in the factory, including Ace, C&A, Dickies, Fashion Basics, Sean Combs Co.'s Enyce brand, Edinburgh Woollen Mill's brands P.G. field and Country Rose, Hippo, Infinity Woman, Karl Rieker GMBH & Co., Kebo Raw, Kik, Piaza Italia, Soffe, and True Desire.

For several years, the International Labor Rights Forum has been tracking and responding to factory fires in Bangladesh's garment industry. This is the most deadly factory fire in the history of the apparel industry in Bangladesh, which is the world's second largest apparel exporter after China. Export data has indicated that Walmart is the second largest buyer of garments from Bangladesh, after H&M.

First reports suggest the fire was started by an electrical short circuit. Faulty wiring is a common cause of factory fires in Bangladesh. According to fire department operations director, Maj. Mohammad Mahbub, the factory had no emergency exits. Workers unable to escape were burned alive. Others jumped to their deaths to escape the flames. The death toll continues to rise as rescue workers plow through the remains of the devastated factory.