Primark has said it will push for a review the quality of factory buildings after an eight-storey premises collapsed in Bangladesh yesterday.
Reports this morning suggest as many as 175 people have been killed and 1,000 injured by the collapse, which happened in a factory at Savar, near the country’s capital city Dhaka.
But it is thought the death toll could continue to rise with the district police chief Habibur Rahman telling Reuters “many are still trapped under the rubble”.
The factory was used by several major suppliers, including one that produces garments for Primark.
The value retailer, which on Tuesday revealed stellar annual results, released a statement saying it was “shocked and deeply saddened by this appalling incident”.
It went on to say it would push for a review of building integrity as part of an industry-wide examination into overall standards and working practices within Bangladesh’s manufacturing industry, which is estimated to be worth $19bn (£12.5bn).
“Primark’s ethical trade team is at this moment working to collect information, assess which communities the workers come from, and to provide support where possible,” the statement added.
Activist group Clean Clothes Campaign, which has been fighting for improved working conditions since 1989, claims members of its team found labels from Spanish retailer Mango in the ruins of the factory.
It said the collapse “provides yet further evidence that voluntary company-led monitoring has failed to protect workers’ lives”.
Tessel Pauli of the Clean Clothes Campaign said: “It’s unbelievable that brands still refuse to sign a binding agreement with unions and labour groups to stop these unsafe working conditions from existing. Tragedy after tragedy shows that corporate-controlled monitoring is completely inadequate.”
She also called for “immediate relief and long term compensation”.
The collapse comes just months after nearly 120 people were killed in a fire at a garment factory in Bangladesh.