EXCLUSIVE: Demands for Accountability Following Istanbul Textiles Factory Fire

Updated: Mar 16

By Just Style

This article was published by Just Style February 23, 2022.

Industry campaign groups and unions tell Just Style exclusively there needs to be accountability at a higher level following a fire at a textile factory in Istanbul, Turkey, said to have killed at least five people.

Three suspects were arrested following a fire at a textiles factory on 11 February, according to local news reports, but campaign groups say accountability needs to go beyond the factory owners to tackling the root of the problem.

Local news reports suggest the fire broke out at a four-story building where textile materials are produced, leading to the deaths of at least five people, three of whom are said to be migrant workers from Syria.

The No Sweat Campaign, which aims to build solidarity among workers worldwide, says the onus for safe conditions should not be left to factory owners.

No Sweat campaigner Jay Kerr tells Just Style exclusively: “Brands need to be legally obliged to ensure safe conditions and governments need to legislate effective laws to protect workers and hold those with economic power liable.”

He notes the tragedy appears to be “yet another example of how the social auditing system is not fit for purpose.”

“Time and time again factories that have been signed off as safe by auditors end up being deathtraps for workers.

“Voluntary auditing employed by brands to prove they are doing due diligence has been proven to be ineffective at keeping workers safe,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Kemal Özkan, assistant general secretary at the Industrial Global Union, told Just Style: “We are horrified, this fire is carnage. It is a clear demonstration on corporate greed for profits over the lives of poor migrant workers who try to earn a living.

“Working in production in a building constructed for housing without any equipment for health and safety is unacceptable. Those responsible must be held accountable.”

Earlier this month, the trial to establish who was to blame for the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh resumed after five years following a number of appeals.

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