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MSN mourns the latest factory deaths in Bangladesh and calls for urgent action

October 11, 2013

The Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) mourns the loss of life in yet another factory fire in Bangladesh and is calling on the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), Loblaw and all other companies that have been using the factory to provide just compensation to the victims and work through the Accord on Fire and Building Safety (Accord) program to ensure such tragedies do not happen in the future.

On October 8, 10 workers were killed and over 50 injured in a fire at the Aswad Composite Mills factory in the capital Dhaka. Import data has linked two Canadian companies to the factory - the Hudson's Bay Company and Loblaw. HBC has acknowledged having orders in the factory as recently as April 2013, but insists it is no longer doing business with the factory, while Loblaw insists that was an unauthorized subcontract facility.

Loblaw is one of close to 100 brands and retailers that have signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, and has agreed to provide compensation to the victims of the April 24 Rana Plaza disaster, in which over 1,100 workers were killed. HBC has so far refused to sign the Accord and has joined an alternative industry-controlled initiative, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

The Aswad factory is a primarily a fabric mill, and is therefore not one of the production facilities covered by the Accord, though some garment manufacturing was reportedly also taking place in the building. The Accord Steering Committee has, however, released a statement pledging that its corporate members that use the mill will provide support to the victims and their families and take steps to avoid future tragic events.

Please sign an online petition to HBC initiated by the campaign network SumOfUs