Tazreen Fashions factory fire

“At 6:40 PM the alarm went off. The manager said ‘nothing has happened, continue your work.’ After a few minutes we saw smoke. I jumped through a window that some workers had broken.” - Nazrin (23), machine operator

“He phoned at 7 PM and told me: ‘I’m on the 3rd floor, but I cannot get out; the gates are locked. Pray for me.’ After that I could not reach him again. I went to the factory and searched everywhere but could not find his body.” - Rashida about her husband Atiqur, who was a quality control inspector at Tazreen
“On the first two days I could not find her, but on the third day I found her dead body in the hospital morgue. I did not recognise her, only her jewellery – her necklace and earrings.” - Humayun about his wife Masuma, who was working as a helper in the factory

On 24 November 2012 a fire broke out in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory in Bangladesh. Exits to the outside were locked, which left workers trapped inside the building. The only way out was through windows on the upper floors, while the lower windows were barred. Over a hundred workers were injured by jumping from the windows of the third and fourth floors, sustaining serious back and head injuries which have left many of them in constant pain. For the last three years the families of those killed and injured have been fighting for compensation for the loss of their loved ones or loss of their own ability to earn an income.

Tazreen produced for U.S. giant Walmart, the Spanish department store El Corte Ingles, the German discount retailer KIK, C&A and Sean John’s Enyce brand. Other linked brands include Edinburgh Woollen Mill (UK), Karl Rieker (Germany) and Piazza Italia (Italy), Teddy Smith (France) and U.S. brands Disney, Sears, Dickies and Delta Apparel.

Tazreen Claims Administration Trust

An agreement to make payments specifically to cover loss of income and medical treatment was signed by IndustriALL Global Union, the Clean Clothes Campaign, C&A and the C&A Foundation just prior to the second anniversary of the fire in 2014. This agreement led to the creation of the Tazreen Claims Administration Trust in September 2015 which oversees the claims process, cooperates with organizations representing the families and collects funding to make the payments.

The Trust raised money to cover the payments primarily through contributions from brands and retailers whose products were produced at the Tazreen factory. C&A, Li & Fung (which sourced on behalf of Sean Jean), BRAC USA (on behalf of Walmart), Spanish department store El Corte Ingles and German brand KiK have paid into the fund. Other brands that sourced from Tazreen fashions have thus far failed to take responsibility towards the survivors and the families of the killed workers.

In June 2016, the Claims Administration Trust completed its work of providing loss of income payments to all injured workers and to the dependents of those who were killed. This meant an important recognition of the rights of the survivors and families affected by the Tazreen fire, after being overshadowed by the scale of the Rana Plaza disaster. The Tazreen claims process also establishes further both the possibility and the necessity of ensuring that victims of any future disasters are provided with loss of income payments and support in line with international norms and standards.

While the claims process has concluded, the struggle of the Tazreen families is not over. They are demanding that those responsible for the deaths and injury of their loved ones are held to account and they continue to wait for the prosecution of Delwar Hossain, the owner of Tazreen Fashions. We will continue to support them in their struggle until full justice is achieved.

Read More

    • Still Waiting report about families affected by tazreen and Rana Plaza waiting for compensation (2013)
    • Fatal Fashion report about the factory fires at Tazreen and Ali Enterprises (2013)
    • Tazreen Factsheet one year on (2013)

Survivors and family members speak out

Tazreen fire victims

“There was a lot of smoke and none of the stairs could be used. I escaped through an exhaust fan hole. There was a bamboo structure outside and I could make it to the house right next to the building.… And, no, I don’t know what happened to my mother, I didn’t see her. It was all dark.” - Raju (18), machine operator

“Yes, we did see outsiders at the factory – both foreigners and Bengalis. We were always informed a day prior to an audit. We had to clean up, make everything look neat and we were told what to say: that we always receive our salary by the 7th of the month, but also about our working hours etcetera. The managers and staff members all gave us instructions.” - Mafusa (19)