Death Toll in Bangladeshi Factory Collapse Exceeds 400

Via the BBC:  Bangladesh building collapse: Death toll passes 400

The number of people killed in the collapse of a factory building on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, has passed 400, officials say.

A senior army official also said that a list of 149 people still missing had been compiled from relatives.

The collapse has sparked protests (the BBC piece cites 20,000 on the streets of Dhaka).

Arrests have been made:

A total of eight people have been arrested, including factory owners and engineers, and they have been accused of negligence.

Cracks had appeared in Rana Plaza, in the Savar district, the day before the collapse but the staff were reportedly told to continue work.

Some context:

Speaking at his regular morning Mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis called the working conditions of those who died in Bangladesh "slave labour".

"Not paying a fair wage, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking to make a profit, that goes against God," he said.

Meanwhile the European Union said it was considering "appropriate action" to encourage improvements in working conditions in Bangladesh factories.

It said its actions may include the use of its trade preference system, which gives Bangladesh duty- and quota-free access to EU markets.

Bangladesh has one of the largest garment industries in the world, with the sector making up almost 80% of the country’s annual exports.

The industry provides employment to about four million people.

However, it has faced criticism over low pay and limited rights given to workers, and for the often dangerous working conditions in factories.

Of course, a substantial amount of clothing in the US, especially of the discount variety, comes from such circumstances.

FILED UNDER: Asia, Quick Takes, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The free market at work.

  2. Moosebreath says:

    “Not paying a fair wage, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking to make a profit, that goes against God”

    Wow — a Pope to the left of me on economic matters.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Hey, careful, that’s Doug’s libertarian paradise you’re talking about.