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28 Feb 2010

Martin Hickman, Independent [UK]

21 workers die in fire at H&M factory [Bangladesh]

At least 21 workers died and 50 were hurt when a fire swept through a Bangladeshi factory making clothes for budget retailer H&M and other firms as they worked at night to fulfil orders…The blaze at the Garib & Garib Newaj company…follows repeated concerns by a British charity about fire safety at factories making garments…War on Want found poor safety at six factories supplying…Primark, Asda and Tesco…H&M said it had audited the factory, which specialised in making knitted garments, as recently as October and found no "serious" fire safety problems…It described itself as a "small buyer" from the factory, which, it said, produced clothes for two other companies, Italian Terenora and Spanish Zemman…Yesterday the retailer said: "In general we have been satisfied with Garib & Garib's way of working with our code of conduct. As far as we know this terrible accident was not caused by poor working conditions or safety measures. [The Resource Centre invited Garib & Garib Newaj to respond but it has declined to do so]