TAZREEN FIRE LINK
Walmart refuses to take clothes worth $1m from Simco DressesMoinul Haque
Global retailer Walmart has refused to receive clothes worth $1 million from Simco Dresses Limited, a Bangladeshi company, with which the US company terminated its relation after the Tazreen Fashions fire.
The US retailer terminated relation with Simco Dresses as the Bangladeshi company subcontracted work to Tazreen Fashions without the retailer’s knowledge.
Leaders of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the owner of Simco Dresses have been negotiating with Walmart over the crisis.
But their effort made no progress, a leader of the BGMEA said.
Officials of Simco Dresses said that they had received order to make 3.5 lakh pieces of ladies’ shorts for Walmart through a New York-based buying house, Success Apparel.
Simco had shipped 1.3 lakh pieces of the product to Walmart in four phases before the fire incident at Tazreen Fashions which killed 112 workers on November 24 last year.
‘The remaining pieces of the product are waiting for shipment,’ they said.
After the fire incident at Tazreen Fashions, Walmart cancelled its order and refused to receive the products including those shipped by the company.
‘Even they are not receiving from ports the goods we shipped before the fire incident,’ said Abdur Rashid, finishing manager of Simco Dresses.
He said that the company had plunged into a crisis and could not pay the wages of the workers for last month.
A director of Simco Group said on January 14, BGMEA leaders and the factory owner held a meeting in Hong Kong with Walmart officials and discussed the matter.
He, however, said that the meeting could not bring any fruitful outcome as Walmart did not agree to do business with Simco Dresses.
A vice-president of the BGMEA told New Age on Tuesday that the president of the trade body, Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, had sit with the Walmart officials in Hong Kong and urged them to reconsider the cancelation of the order.
‘At the meeting, the Walmart officials had said that they would inform the company about it later, but they are yet to make any further response,’ he said.
The Simco Group director said the Walmart officials categorically said at the meeting that it would not be possible for the retailer to continue business with Simco Dresses as it subcontracted work to Tazreen Fashions.
He said that after getting the order from Walmart they had subcontracted work of making 25,000 pieces of the product to Tuba Group.
‘But Tuba Group had shifted the work to its sister concern Tazreen Fashions,’ he said.
The officials of Simco Dresses said that the clothes which were shipped in November 11-22 with the consent of Walmart remained stuck at the Los Angeles port as the retail chain had refused to accept the shipment.
Meanwhile, the labour leaders in the garment sector criticised the US biggest retailer Walmart for the cancelation of the order and keeping it aloof from its social and moral responsibilities.
They demanded that it should do something for the Tazreen fire victims under corporate social responsibility.
Nazma Akter, president of Sammilito Garments Sramik Federation, said the decision of Walmart was unfortunate and inhuman.
Abul Hossain, president of Textile Garments Workers Federation, said that global buyers were putting some unusual pressure on the garment sector of Bangladesh.
On Monday, a number of labour organisations demanded compensation from Walmart for the Tazreen fire victims at a press conference in the city.
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