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Model Letter to KTS Textiles' U.S. Buyers

August, 11 2006 Share

Model Letter to KTS Textiles' U.S. Buyers

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Dear               :

The death toll from the tragic fire at the KTS Textiles factory in Bangladesh continues to climb.  So far 84 workers have died, 80 percent of them young women.  Among those burned to death were many 12, 13 and 14-year-old girls, and local organizations fear that the death toll could go much higher, since several hundred workers were severely burned or injured when they jumped from the 3rd or 4th floor of the factory building to escape the flames. 

These workers did not have to die.  They died because main emergency exit was illegally locked, stairways were cluttered with boxes of garments, there was no fire safety equipment, and there had never once been a fire drill at the KTS Textiles factory.

There were also numerous other violations at KTS Textiles.  Workers reporting forced overtime, including 19-hour all-night shifts and seven-day work weeks;  payment of below-subsistence level wages of just seven to 14 cents an hour;  denial of legal maternity rights;  physical abuse and beatings, and total suppression of the internationally recognized worker rights to freedom of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively.

The demands of the injured workers and the families of the dead are very modest and reasonable:

  • Compensation of $7,375 to the families of workers who were killed;
  • That injured workers receive free medical care and a compensation of $738;
  • Full payment of workers' wages while the factory remains closed;
  • That a thorough investigation and prosecution of KTS managers be undertaken for illegally locking the factory's main emergency exit;
  • That the workers' legal right to freedom of association and to organize a union be fully respected.

I imagine that you and your company, which sources production in the KTS Textiles factory, are as saddened and outraged as the Bangladeshi and American people are at this callous destruction of human life.

Please tell me what your company intends to do to demand an end to the violations and to guarantee respect for internationally recognized worker rights at the KTS Textiles factory, and how much money your company will contribute to the injured workers and the families of the dead.  The Bangladeshi garment workers have suffered enough.  Now is the time for all of us to do the right thing and compensate these workers.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,