The IUF-affiliated Pakistan Food Workers’ Federation (PFWF) issued a statement expressing solidarity with the workers and families of victims of the tragic fire at the Hashem Foods factory in Rupganj in Narayanganj district in Bangladesh.

PFWF condemned the hazardous working conditions – including the storage of highly flammable materials, locked gates and blocked doorways – that led to the death of more than 52 workers and hundreds of injuries.

The factory also produced juices under license for Shezan International, a leading beverage company based in Pakistan. PFWF called on Shezan International to take responsibility for the dangerous working conditions and rights violations at a factory producing its branded products.

[translation of the statement issued by PFWF on July 10, 2021]

Pakistan Food Workers Federation condemns the tragic fire incident, and raise great concern over the incident, which happened due to the criminal negligence by the factory management, at food factory in Narayanganj district, Bangladesh. This incident took 52 lives of workers, and many got injured.

Federation also raised concerns over  precarious  working conditions, poor  health & Safety standards and presence of packaging material and chemical stored at second floor of the factory there was no proper emergency exit consequently workers at 3rd and 4th floors were trapped when fire broke. We also have serious concern that Hashem Foods Ltd, owned by Sajeeb Group at their other factories have around 7000 workers working under unsafe working conditions, and their lives are also at risk.

The Federation also raise concern that as per information that factory gate was locked, due to which workers could not escape the site to save their lives this lead to higher numbers of deaths  . The families of victims also identified the same.

It is also came to the Federation’s knowledge that the said factory was manufacturing products of the Pakistan company Shezan International. We believe Shezan International is also responsible for the working condition and health & safety of the factory. We demand that Shezan International should hold inquiry of the matter as they are responsible for Occupational health and safety standards of factories where their products are manufactured in any country.

The Federation extends its greater solidarity with injured workers and families of workers who lost their lives in tragic incident an. We demand that government and companies (whose product are been manufactured in this factory) should compensate the deceased workers families, and workers who are injured. Also, provide free medical assistance. And inquiry should be launched and the perpetrators should be brought to justice.