Big W has admitted it was also sourcing fabric for its clothes from the Bangladeshi factory that burnt down this week, killing at least seven workers, despite the factory being flagged as unsafe for workers.
Oxfam and international labour rights groups are now calling on Big W and Target, owned by Woolworths and Wesfarmers respectively, to take financial responsibility for the fire victims and their families at the Aswad Composite Mills in Bangladesh.
Other retailers that bought from the factory include H&M, Gap and French brand Carrefour.
The factory’s safety standards had already come to the attention of international buyers, and its owner, the Palmal company, had been found in flagrant breach of laws in its other factories.
After the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka in Bangladesh in April that killed at least 1127 workers, retailers were urged to sign an accord on fire safety in factories, to prevent more tragedies.
”All companies that were sourcing from the Aswad Composite Mills company should pay compensation to the families of the deceased, and those injured in the fire,” said Daisy Gardener, corporate accountability and fair trade adviser for Oxfam Australia.
”This fire should also be a big wake-up call for Woolworths, which has been saying publicly since June that it intends to sign on to the accord.” Target had signed it.
Target’s latest order from the Aswad Composite Mill, was for nearly 4000 kilograms of material last month. Big W confirmed on Thursday that one of its suppliers also sourced fabric from the factory.
Fairfax Media has obtained a purchase order retrieved from an undamaged office in the Aswad Mill after the fire.
The order, which shows a Target insignia, is for nearly 4000 kilograms of material last month. Target claimed this specific order was a mistake but said it had sourced fabric from the factory.