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Fire rages at key Bangladeshi clothing factory

A factory in Bangladesh which is understood to supply retailers in Europe including H&M has been razed to the ground by a fire which has killed four workers and injured 100 more.

The clothing factory in Ashulia in Bangladesh is owned by the Hameem Group which employs about 14,000 workers in the industrial hub which is situated north of the capital Dhaka.

Fires due to short circuits and poorly maintained wiring in the country are common. According to reports some workers said emergency exits were locked when they tried to escape the fire.

On its website, the Hameem Group said that it was the fifth largest clothing manufacturer in the country with 1.8 million garments produced a month. It manufactures most clothing categories with a specialism in denim.

As well as working with H&M, it also produces items for Gap, American Eagle, Target and Walmart in the US.

Bangladesh has become a key country for the manufacture of clothing because of cheap labour costs. However, it has become a volatile region in recent months after a string of riots by workers over pay and working conditions closed factories and highlighted ethical trading concerns.

Last week, workers again protested over the failure of many factories to implement a rise in the minimum wage due to come in to force on December 1.

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