The death toll from the Rana Plaza factory collapse has now passed 700. It is one of the worst industrial disasters in recent history, and the worst ever in Bangladesh.
A government building inspector has confirmed that the building, which housed five factories, was built with inadequate, weak materials that could not withstand vibrations caused by electricity generators on the top floor. The building’s architect has said it was intended to house residential or light commercial properties rather than heavy industry.
Primark, one of the western suppliers which sourced textiles from the factory, has agreed to compensate the victims’ families. Mango, Matalan, and Bonmarche, which also had links with factories there, are yet to do so. None of the companies have so far signed up to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement.
Social unrest has increased in the aftermath of the tragedy, with garment workers striking and demonstrating in response, including on May Day. There have also been deaths following mass Islamist demonstrations in Dhaka. Islamists are demanding the passing of an anti-blasphemy law and have called for the execution of atheists.
Workers must organise to prevent their struggles being confiscated either by Islamists or by the right-wing bourgeois opposition.