Inditex SA (ITX), which includes the Zara chain, suspended links with two subcontractors after garments with the company’s labels were found at the site of a fatal factory fire in Bangladesh, a spokesman said.
Inditex has stopped doing business with Spanish supplier Wonnover and its Bangladeshi sub-contractor Centex as a precautionary measure, Inditex spokesman Jesus Echevarria said in a telephone interview today. Both companies deny handing off production to unauthorized suppliers, he said.
“We want to stand together with the organizations and officials working on the ground and give them all the support they need,” Echevarria said.
Garments from Inditex’s Bershka and Lefties brands were found among the wreckage, the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights said on its website, following a fire that killed at least six people. The factory was owned by Dhaka-based Smart Export Garments Ltd. Inditex has sent its own investigators to the scene, Echevarria said.
The blaze was the second fatal fire at a Bangladesh clothing factory in two months, focusing international attention on working conditions in plants making goods for some of the world’s biggest brands. More than 100 people were killed on Nov. 24 at a plant producing garments for companies including Wal- Mart Stores Inc. More than 700 garment workers have died since 2005 in Bangladesh, according to the International Labor Rights Forum, a Washington-based advocacy group.
“The recurring fires give us a clear picture that the initiative by the government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association to curb the death toll is too little and too late,” said Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh center for worker solidarity in an e- mail. “The government, BGMEA, and western retailers need to act rapidly to stop the killings and to ensure a safe workplace for our workers.”