Last Nightshift in Savar:
The Story of the Spectrum Sweater Factory Collapse
In April 2005 a factory making sweaters for the European market collapsed like a pack of cards during the nightshift in Savar near Dhaka, Bangladesh. The circumstances of this disaster, which caused the deaths of 64 clothing workers and injured a further 84, proved to be a final straw for trade unionists and NGO activists who had long been concerned about the state of factory safety and the inadequacies of social protection in the Ready Made Garment industry in the South East Asian country.
Last Nightshift in Savar presents a detailed account of the national and international campaign efforts to bring the owner and his multinational buyers to book. It is also an account of the emergence of two quite different but replicable buyer approaches to the provision of relief for workers in such calamitous circumstances, which hopefully sheds light on some of the contradictions of corporate social responsibility in the globalised economy in which we live today. Finally, it is the story of the efforts of the international trade union, and NGO movement and of two men, in particular, to drive home change in compensation for industrial injury and fatality in the less developed world.
Doug Miller is the Inditex/ITGLWF Professor of Worker
Rights in Fashion, in the School of Design at the University of Northumbria,
Newcastle upon Tyne.
"A massive and impressive piece of work."
Ineke Zeldenrust, Clean Clothes Campaign
"Read this book for a vivid account of the devastating consequences to garment workers of chronic health and safety failures in the industry. Read this book for inspiration – new protections can be established for workers when government, manufacturers, trade unions and international buyers work together in a more accountable way. Read this book!"
Dan Rees, Director, Better Work (a program of the ILO and IFC)
"This book has been a long time coming. At last we have the full story behind the efforts of what can be achieved through sustained national and international campaign pressure by trade unions and labour rights organisations."
Roy Ramesh Chandra, President, United Federation of Garments Workers
"This book serves as a reminder that with all such cases, Multinationals need to first connect with the workers in their supply chains at a human level, especially when they look at issues of compensation and remediation post a disaster. More importantly, each of us has to look beyond just what is expected of us legally, to our wider moral responsibility, in order to stay civilised and 'humane' in the challenging and often heartless world of the global fashion industry."
Lakshmi Bhatia, Fair Labor Association