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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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Walmart blames its supplier

Cuts ties

US global retailer Walmart yesterday said Tazreen Fashions, the garment factory where a fire killed at least 111 people, had been making clothes for the retailer without its knowledge.

But the website of Tuba Group, a major Bangladeshi garment exporter that owns Tazreen Fashions, shows Walmart on the list of its top 29 buyers.

The Daily Star called the group's Managing Director Delwar Hossain on his mobile phone twice yesterday. His assistant answered the phone both times and only said Delwar was at a meeting.

In a statement released on Monday, the US retail giant said Tazreen was no longer authorised to produce merchandise for Walmart. “Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this tragedy.”

“A supplier subcontracted work to this factory without authorisation and in direct violation of our policies. Today, we have terminated the relationship with that supplier,” America's biggest retailer said.

“The fact that this occurred,” Walmart said, “is extremely troubling to us, and we will continue to work across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh.”

A certificate from Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), a global certification programme for apparel production in terms of working conditions in a facility, shows Tuba Group's compliance rate as B-level on its website, pointing to its mediocre safety standards.

The WRAP certified the group for one year -- from February 4, 2009 to February 4, 2010. No updated certification is available on its website.

Walmart categorises a factory's compliance as “Green”, “Yellow”, “Orange” and “Red”. A compliance audit of Walmart shows some of the units of Tuba Group, like Tazreen Fashions, had been rated as “yellow” for four consecutive years, according to the website.

“Orange” indicates high risk, “yellow” indicates medium risk and “Green” low risk.

If a factory has the “Orange” category over three assessments for two consecutive years, it automatically goes to “Red”, leading to the cancellation of a business deal for a year, the BBC said.

At one stage of the fire, many workers tried to escape through the ground floor of the building. But the thick smoke from yarn and fabrics stored on the floor got in their way.

The managing director of Tuba Group said he had used the ground floor as a warehouse for Tazreen and six other factories.

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Wal-Mart cannot possibly get away saying that they are not responsible…of course they are. If you have a contract with certain manufacturer, I am sure you have a guarantee clause in your agreement clearly saying the second party (manufacturer) to inform the first party (Wal-Mart) in writing who they are going to sub-contract the manufacturing job to. It is also the responsibility of the Wal-Mart to ensure the subcontracted party is equally up to standard of requirement in par with the second party as per their requirement which is part of the US law.

This is going to be a long legal battle. I am sure those poor burnt-to-charcoal victims (112) families will receive massive compensation from Wal-Mart someday. Our young lawyers and student of laws must make sure they study the case not as a professional, but also to make sure that no citizens of this country are deprived of from their legal rights. Be it world giant Wal-Mart or local giant Tazreen Fashions Ltd.

Politicians please stay away from making comments on the case; consider it as one of the subjudies matter seriously. We have a strong case and do not spoil it and do not politicise it either.

: Sheikh Monirul Islam, Opee

All, did you read the contract between Walmart and Tuba Group? In our country we do not respect contracts and that is the problem. Tuba group is at fault not Walmart. Bangladeshi businesses are flouting laws every where and in this era globalisation, BD will be the real loser when Walmart moves away.

: rch

Comments

  • mong pru
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 01:31 AM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    Blaming Walmart may be smart ... but blaming the owners of the garments factory is smarter ... remember ... there were people who found the factory under lock and key ... why and by whose order was the building locked without allowing the workers to escape the fire? Will Walmart do that from the USA?

  • jannatul nayem
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 03:26 AM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    Walmart is the most top retail in the US. I think Tazreen Garment is glad to get work as a sub-contract. Why we are blaming a foreign company? Just think for once if this foreign company do not come to us than what will happen to our economy? What will happen to our garments workers? More than 80 percent revenue we get from it but we do not have enforced law. If there is than their no better to maintain it. I like to remind that this accident is not only one we had but our government are very good to escape to learning of it. Now government should do something instate of escaping. I think every single garment should be renewing their license so that government can investigate their garments and can give a safe security.

  • barkat
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 03:52 AM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    Walmart do not worry at all. Those who died are very poor Bangladeshis. The factory is in Bangladesh. The owners of these factories are very powerful politically backed people. No one can dare to touch them or ask any claim or compensation from Walmart. This is Bangladesh not America. So Walmart just relax and find out a new supplier who can make good cheap stock for you.

  • Arun
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 09:01 AM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    Dear Expat buyer, I feel your views are totally one sided to protect Walmart interests. Walmart bein usa mistake. Giants like Walmart have a day to day production followup chart, don't tell me their office does not know production going on in this factory.

  • Hasan Ferdous
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 09:45 AM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    Delowar Hossain, the owner of Tazreen Fashions, a readymade garment at Ashulia near Bangladesh's capital Dhaka, is a Canadian citizen. More than 110 poor and vulnerable readymade garment workers were killed in a devastating fire there on Saturday.

  • Mohammed Uddin
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 09:58 AM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    It is not Walmart who is supposed to ensure workplace safety. It is duty of our govt and binding for the factory owner by law.

  • OpeeMonir
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 12:03 PM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    I do not think the expat buyer from Bangladesh (not B’desh) quite understood what I said...Wal-Mart cannot wash their hand simply. Wal-Mart must ensure where their products are coming from, do they pay salary, do the workers enjoy adequate facilities, etc.

  • Shohely
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 02:35 PM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    Dear Factory owners,be sympathetic & at the same time empathetic to your workers.Dont think them as your slave.They work money its true and they are ignorant its not their fault.Make them smart, u'll be gainer also.

  • Hanees
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 04:30 PM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    Though garment export being the top forex earner, it is not given due importance as far as safety and social compliances are concerned.

  • Syed Arif Niazi
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 12:45 AM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    Bangladesh Garments industry is beset with multiple inbuild maladies, with no attempt till date to remedy those either by the government or by the Garment owners. Bangldesh Garment owners have done a commendable job till date in keeping their factories running against all odds but they have failed miserably in ensuring workers safety. The government and the garment owners both seem to have launched into a blame game ritual with Walmart making itself a laughing stock by claiming that they were unaware that their goods were being produced in Tazreen. All the stakeholders especially the government, the garment owners And Walmart must work together to avoid such accidents in future instead of issuing statements which

    makes a mockery of their very statements

  • niloufar sarker
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 12:51 AM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    Laying the blame squarely on Walmart is like passing the buck. I understand that bring a law suit against Walmart & gaining some monetary gain is extremely shortsighted.It will drive foreign buyers to other sources where better working conditions exist.It is all most impossible for foreign buyers to monitor

  • neutral
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 12:52 AM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    A decision deserved all credits for showing full and unambiguous syspathy for the victims of the garment factory workers blazed with fire and trapped poor women workers to cruel death only witnessed in Indian history of 'Sati Daha' and stopped by a reknowened Indian Raja Ram Mohan Roy and English Governor Gerenal of india Robert Bentings, hopefully i am correct, who laid down the laws to stop such brutality.

    I know these are not similar events, but the suffering is definitely similar and the results are the same..

  • An expatriate buyer from B'desh
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 01:12 AM GMT+06:00 (104 weeks ago)

    Those who blame Wal-Mart must know that Wal-Mart is a buyer, has placed orders with a B'desh company and as such Wal-Mart is not responsible legally for any accident that occurred in a B'desh factory. Safety, wage, environmental or accidental hazard, etc are responsibility of the company who took orders from Wal-Mart and owns the factory. Most importantly, it is B'desh government's sole responsibility to oversee and enforce laws and regulations that no such accident occurs in any factory in the country.

    Let me give another simple example. If B'desh order F-15 to USA and if a blast occurs in the manufacturing plant there and 10,000 people die, can anybody blame B'desh for such an accident? Take your own responsibility and don't blame others. It is as simple as that. B'desh factory owners are mostly unscrupulous people, never bother for the workers' safety and welfare, do not pay their salaries regularly, force them work hard without a decent compensation, employ children and exploit them and we all know that. I have 35 years experience as a buyer from B'desh and I can certify it.

    It is nice of Wal-Mart that they showed concern but they have no legal obligation towards anybody for this tragic accident. Moral obligation? Yes, Wal-Mart has but should not our factory owners show both legal and moral obligation first?


 

 


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