C&A declares support for Bangla garment factory victims

February 28, 2013 - Bangladesh

C&A Europe announced numerous support measures following a fire at the garment factory of ‘Tazreen Fashion’ in Dhaka, Bangladesh. During the fire on 24 November, 112 people had died. Among other products, the factory had manufactured garments for C&A. Ever since this terrible event, supporting the victims and improving fire safety measures in Bangladesh has been the main priority for C&A. An overview of measures is described below.

Recipients of financial support are
1. Children who lost a parent at the fire
2. Those injured and unable as yet to return to work
3. Families who lost a relative in the fire

The total funds being donated by C&A via the C&A Foundation in support of the 3 groups of victims as described above are estimated to be more than one million USD. 70 children from 46 families have been named as having lost at least one parent in the fire. An amount of USD 50 (4000 Taka) per month will be made available for each of these children until they reach the age of 18 years old.

The surviving parent or legal guardian of each of these children will receive an amount of USD 15 (1200 Taka) per month towards their education, medical expenses and other costs. The balance funds of USD 35 (2800 Taka) per month will be paid into a savings account registered in the name of each of these children, and to which they will have access on reaching the age of 18.

50 former employees of Tazreen fashions who were injured in the fire and are still unable to work will be supported by C&A via the C&A Foundation. C&A will continue to pay the medical costs for each of these 50 people until such time as they are fully recovered and able to work. In addition C&A will pay for loss of earnings which this group has suffered.

For each of the families who lost a relative in the fire C&A, via the C&A Foundation, has donated 1,200 USD per family which builds on earlier donations from other parts of the industry and organizations from Bangladesh.

“In addition to those measures the tragedy of 24 November has shown that despite C&A’s long tradition of safeguarding work safety in Bangladeshi production plants, additional audits on fire safety are necessary,” said Phil Chamberlain, head of Sustainable Business Development at C&A Europe.

For this reason C&A has started an in depth fire safety audit at all of its listed factories owned by locally based supply partners. The scope of work includes an assessment of the electrical systems, building layout and building construction, and will involve fire safety training also.

If any factory is unwilling or unable to carry out necessary improvements C&A production will be located elsewhere until such time that such factories can comply in full with the recommendations made following the audit. The first audits will have been completed by middle of March. The forecast costs of the in-depth audit financed by the C&A Foundation are estimated to be in the region of 1 million USD.


Issues of fire safety were also raised during a meeting of representatives of the nongovernmental organization ‘Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC)’ at C&A Europe’s headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany.

“This meeting was important to us in order to understand the positions of CCC and explain the support measures we have initiated after the tragic incident,” said Phil Chamberlain. “We found that we agree on many issues, but that there are others on which we disagree and where there is need for further dialogue.”

Responding to demands by CCC for C&A to join a fire safety agreement devised by labour rights groups, local trade unions as well as the global sector trade union and brands, company representatives agreed to re-examine a possible accession to the treaty. However, they also referred to the lack of willingness among other companies to agree to a respective memorandum of understanding, which would render practical implementation difficult.

“Few brands cannot effect the necessary change in regard to fire safety which is required in Bangladesh,” Mr. Chamberlain said. “To ensure safe and healthy working conditions in the future it is essential that initiatives are developed which involve multiple stakeholders, and will lead to fundamental change on the ground.”