History is doomed to repeat itself as yesterday yet another building collapse in Bangladesh confirms what we know when corporates based in the global north seek to exploit the poverty and informality of the global south.
Earlier this year I reported on the publication of Doug Miller's account of an earlier building collapse (Last Nightshift in Savar) and of the global campaign by the ITLGWF and the Clean Clothes Campaign to seek justice for the widows and orphans of that earlier tragedy.
And in my last posted item I commented on a trip to the US in March of those who were effected by the November 2012 building collapse at the Tazreen Factory and the critical role this played in the campaign aimed at WalMart to improve global labour standards.
We were fortunate at Ruskin College to hear personally from Doug Miller when he visited to speak to the MA ILTUS students in March and a particularly informative aspect of his talk was just how ruthless ruthless multinationals are in selecting Bangladesh as a core feature in the supply chain for ready made garments (RMG).
Laia Blanch of War on Want has been quoted extensively on yesterday's tragedy stating emphatically that "It is dreadful that leading brands and governments continue to allow garment workers to die or suffer terrible disabling injuries in unsafe factories making clothes for Western nations' shoppers."
The power to effect change that is driven by multinationals is possible. Doug's book chronicles for example the decison by the Spanish corporate Inditex to financialy compensate the families of those affected by the 2005 factory collapse.
Even that however is essentially remedial, as the major issue in Bangladesh is building and labour standards.
Primark has yet again been found to have a supply chain connection with a major disaster and so we can only hope that some form of pressure can be brought to bear to diminish what on a human scale is the worst form of outcome for already impoverished, exploited workers and their families.
In Solidarity with Bangladeshi Garment Workers