Rana Plaza: Compensation for Victims of Industrial Homicide Still Short of Target

photo: Photo: TUC

Two years after the deaths of more than 1,100 workers in the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, the compensation fund for their families and for the thousands injured is still US $6 million short of the $30 million target.

The legally binding Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, negotiated by IndustriALL, UNI and NGO partners with the brands after the disaster now has more than 200 brands signed up and has to date completed nearly 1,500 factory inspections, identifying many thousands of safety issues to be remedied.

IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina said “Two years after this industrial homicide, the victims of Rana Plaza are still waiting for full compensation. This is a collective responsibility, but we specifically call upon brands like Benetton, Mango, Walmart and Carrefour to contribute more.”

Philip Jennings, General Secretary of UNI Global Union added “It’s outrageous that families who lost their mothers and breadwinners have still not been fully compensated because a group of multinationals cannot find it in their hearts or deep pockets to pay the US$6 million missing from the compensation fund. All brands need to join forces to end the funding crisis by closing the funding gap and stepping up the remedial work on factories.”

The Global Union Federations, backed by the ITUC, are calling on the global garment industry to show that it has learned its lesson and is able to move on to addressing another burning question, the poverty wages paid to workers.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary said “The Rana Plaza tragedy shows how destructive the global supply chain model of today is for working people. It is a failed model that has to be replaced by a new way of doing business globally – one that doesn’t corrupt and that upholds the rights and livelihoods of those who produce and deliver the goods and services that are the lifeblood of the global economy.”

The international trade union bodies, supported by their European counterparts, have criticised the Bangladesh government’s failure to fix employment laws that heavily restrict workers’ rights, and also called on the European Union to exert its considerable influence to press for reform in Bangladesh