RANA PLAZA FACTORY COLLAPSE BANGLADESH
1,127 dead, 1640 Injured.
Built by a local political leader, on a swamp, with little regulatory oversight and no union representation for workers, Rana Plaza housed four high capacity factories that produced for retailers and brands worldwide including Primark, Mango, Benetton and Carrefour.
Banladesh Garment Industry – The Facts
• Is the second largest export of apparel after China,
• Accounts for 78 per cent of the country’s total exports.
• Contributes 17 per cent to the country’s total GDP.
• Has the lowest paid garment workers in the world – 85% are women under the age of 35.
• 59 per cent of Bangladesh exports are destined for theEuropean market.
• Irish CSO figures attribute €277million of garment imports to Bangladesh since 2010
The over dependency of Bangladesh on the garment sector has developed a climate of corruption
and collusion where union activity is dangerous and many workplaces fail to adhere to the most basic
standards of health and safety.
While Rana Plaza is the the most catastrophic disaster in the garment industry’s history, it is only one
incident in a continuing series of tragedies to beset garment workers in producing countries across
In the past 8 months alone just over 800 garment workers have died in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The economic dependency of producing countries to garment and textile trade restricts both the
capacity and the will of governments to regulate (and therefore risk) investment by western brands
To reduce the risk of operating in such poorly regulated countries, western retailers have adopted a
system of self-regulation, subscribing to multi stake holder initiatives and accreditation bodies that use
loose guidelines and minimum standards which serve to act only as one more loop in the long and
complex supply chain.
When these systems fail and lives are lost, retailers self-determine the levels of responsibility they
will accept along with the amount of compensation they will pay, to whom and when they will pay it.
This process is usually lengthy and complicated by disorganised and corrupted administration and is
usually finalised at significantly lower than internationally accepted levels.
“This negligence must stop. The deaths of these workers could have been avoided if multinational corporations,
governments and factory owners took workers’ protection seriously,”
Amirul Haque Amin,
National Garment Workers Ferderation
On the 17th January 2013, 3 months before the Rana Plaza collapse, the European Parliament
adopted a resolution on health and safety, notably in Bangladesh (2012/2908(RSP)).The resolution
calls on all textile brands sourcing from Bangladesh to join the efforts initiated by local and
international NGOs and Trade Unions to implement a program to improve the fire and building safety
of the country.
The Bangladesh Building and Safety Agreement (BFBSA) has been developed by Bangladeshi
and International NGOs and Trade Unions as a robust and legally binding agreement to protect the
lives and rights of workers.
Ireland and the Irish Government has an opportunity to once again reinstate its place as the honest
voice amongst the clamour of vested interests. To once again establish itself as a thought leader in
Human Rights policy and send a clear message that economic growth must not come at the cost of
We urge our government to use the last months of our EU presidency to urgently bring brands
active in the Irish and European Market to accede to the policies of the Bangladesh Fire and
Building Safety Agreement.