UK & World News
Second Fire At Bangladeshi Clothing Factory
There has been a second fire at a multi-storey clothes factory in Dhaka, just two days after over 100 people were killed in a blaze at another factory in the Bangladeshi capital.
The fire at the 11-storey building, housing three garment factories, in the suburb of Uttara sparked fresh scenes of panic as workers rushed to safety.
It caused widespread damage but there were no reports of deaths, with employees managing to escape to an adjacent building.
Eight workers are said to have been injured due to heavy smoke inhalation.
The fire came as garment workers staged a mass protest at working conditions in Bangladesh following the country's worst ever factory blaze over the weekend, in which at least 112 people are thought to have died.
Survivors of Saturday night's fire joined several thousand colleagues blocking a highway during a march in the manufacturing hub of Ashulia, on the outskirts of Dhaka, with some protesters throwing stones at one factory.
They are angry at poor labour conditions and overcrowding in the factories as well as the lack of enforcement of safety laws. Locked fire doors are said to be commonplace.
Ashulia's 500-plus factories, which make clothing for top global retailers such as Walmart, H&M and Tesco, declared a "holiday", fearing the protests could worsen and turn into large-scale unrest.
"Most workers are in shock. They want to see safety improvements to these deathtrap factories," Babul Akter, head of a garment union, said.
The protesters chanted slogans, including a demand for bosses at the factory at Tazreen, where the weekend fire broke out, to be brought to justice.
Bangladesh's chief inspector of factories Habibul Islam revealed that the the nine-storey Tazreen factory, which was built in 2009, had permission for only three storeys.
Police and the government are trying to establish if the owners were to blame for the fire, for which the cause has not yet been determined.
Habibul Islam, revealed that the the nine-storey factory at Tazreen, which was built in 2009, had permission for only three storeys.
Dozens of workplace fires have now killed more than 600 employees in Bangladesh's booming garment industry since 2006, according to the Clean Clothes Campaign, an Amsterdam-based textile rights group.
But none of the owners have so far faced prosecution for poor safety conditions.
Firefighters battled for several hours to contain the blaze on Saturday, with witnesses describing how desperate workers, most of them women, cried for help and several leaped to their deaths from upper floors as they tried to escape.
A mass burial of the bodies of 58 workers has been postponed until Tuesday after requests from relatives who want more time for identification.
Bangladesh has around 4,500 garment factories and is the world's biggest exporter of clothing after China, with garments making up 80% of its annual exports.