Victory for Rana Plaza workers as compensation fund is finally filled

 

After two years of campaigning across the world, an large anonymous donation of €2.4 million secures full and fair compensation for victims of Rana Plaza
After two years of campaigning across the world, an large anonymous donation of €2.4 million secures full and fair compensation for victims of Rana Plaza

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is delighted to announce a major campaign victory with the confirmation that the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund has finally met its target of $30 million, following a large anonymous donation.

 

The CCC has been campaigning since the disaster in April 2013 to demand that brands and retailers provided compensation to its victims.

Since then over one million consumers from across Europe and around the world have joined actions against many of the major high street companies whose products were being made in one of the five factories housed in the structurally compromised building. These actions forced many brands to finally pay donations and by the second anniversary the Fund was still $2.4 million dollars short of its $30million target. A large donation received by the Fund in the last few days has now led to the Fund meeting its target.

“This day has been long in coming. Now that all the families impacted by this disaster will finally receive all the money that they are owed, they can finally focus on rebuilding their lives. This is a remarkable moment for justice,” said Kate Nolan of the Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland. “This would not have been possible without the support of citizens and consumers in Ireland and across Europe who stuck with the campaign over the past two years. Together we have proved once again that European consumers do care about the workers who make their clothes – and that their actions really can make a difference.”

 

The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund was set up by the ILO in January 2014 to collect funds to pay awards designed to cover loss of income and medical costs suffered by the Rana Plaza victims and their families when the Rana Plaza building collapsed in the garment industry’s worst ever disaster.

In November 2014 the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee announced that this would need around $30million to pay in full over 5,000 awards granted through the scheme. However, the failure of brands and retailers linked to Rana Plaza to provide sufficient and timely donations into the Fund has, until today, prevented the payment of the awards from being completed.

The CCC continues to call for policy changes to ensure that those affected by future disasters will receive more timely support. They welcome a new initiative by the ILO in Bangladesh to develop a national workplace injury scheme for the country’s 4 million garment workers. They also urge European politicians to develop better regulation of supply chains to ensure that brands and retailers are held properly accountable in the future.

This is a huge victory – but its been too long in the making” says Ineke Zeldenrust from the CCC International Secretariat: “That brands with a collective annual profit of over $20 billion took two years and significant public pressure to come up with a mere $30 million is an indictment of the voluntary nature of social responsibility. We now need to look at ways to ensure that access to such remedy is provided by brands and retailers as a matter of course, and not only when public outrage makes doing nothing impossible.”

Global pressure urges retailers to ‘close the gap’ in funding in time for second anniversary of Rana Plaza disaster.

24th April 2015 marks the two-year anniversary of the worst industrial accident to ever hit the garment industry, when the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh came crashing down killing 1134 garment workers.

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and its trade union allies and partners are marking the second anniversary of disaster, with a global call to action, demanding that the Rana Plaza survivors and victims’ families immediately receive the full compensation they are entitled to; and that all apparel brands and retailers.

Despite the growing urgency, brands continue to postpone payments to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, or make payments that are clearly insufficient to close the $4.5 million gap in funds necessary to ensure the survivors of Rana Plaza receive full and fair compensation.

The ILO set up the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund in January 2014 to collect compensation for the victims of the disaster. The Rana Plaza Coordination Committee (RPCC), set up in October 2013, was tasked with developing and overseeing the compensation process, known as the Arrangement. The RPCC includes representatives from the Bangladesh government, Bangladesh industry, global brands and retailers, Bangladeshi and international trade unions and Bangladeshi and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), with the ILO acting as the neutral chair. In the development of the Arrangement the brand representatives refused to set specific payment amounts for each company.

Since the opening of the Fund in January 2014 campaigners have argued that donations should reflect a company’s ability to pay, the size of their relationship with Bangladesh and the extent of their relationship with Rana Plaza however nearly every brand linked to the Rana Plaza building has made insufficient donations, thus failing to live up to their responsibilities to the victims. Some brands, such as Mango, Matalan, and Inditex have refused to disclose their donation. Others, such as Walmart and The Children’s Place, while publicly disclosing their donation, still only contributed a minimal amount.

“We need to start asking questions as to why out of all the companies with direct links to Rana Plaza only two – Primark and Loblaw – have stepped up in a financially meaningful way, showing that they take their responsibilities seriously, and that they do respect the lives of workers. If all the other companies involved had followed suit, we would not be entering into this funding crisis that we are today, just one day until the anniversary of the disaster and still facing over a 4 million shortfall,” says Kate Nolan of the Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland.

On April 24, 2013, shortly after 8AM, the Rana Plaza building collapsed, when eight storeys of concrete came crashing down, killing 1,134 people. Many were killed instantly. Many others were buried alive, forcing some to amputate their own limbs in order to escape and survive. It is estimated that there were 3890 people in the Rana Plaza building at the time of collapse.

‘If we have learnt anything from this disaster it is that  it is vital that any retailer doing business in Bangladesh should be signed up to the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, not just those that were producing in Rana Plaza. That means Dunnes Stores and O’Neills and any company sourcingthier garments  from vulnerable workers in the Bangladesh garment sector. ‘ continues Kate

Fashion Revolution Day
Global actions began in Genova, Italy, on , 18 April and have continued across across the world in the week leading up to 24 April 2015 when social media activism is set to make a global noise under the hashtag #fashrev #whomademyclothes. Fashion Revelotuion Day is set to take over the social media platforms for the day as millions of  consumers ask a simple question to their favourite brands and retialers – who made my clothes? Intended as a mark of respect for garment workers around the world and instigated by London based designer Carry Sommers as a reaction to the Rana Plaza disaster, Fashion Revolution Day is marked in over 66 countries around the world.

 

Violent retaliation as hunger striking workers refuse to back down.

female workers flee from police raid
Police force Tuba garment workers from the factory premises in a crack-down on the striking workers
Clean Clothes Campaign demands the immediate release of union leader Moshrefa Mishu and all others and calls for an end to the violence against the worker’s strike in Bangladesh. The protesting women announced a nation-wide strike of all garment producing factories this week if they do not receive three months salaries and allowances owed to them by garment producer Tuba Group.

President of the Garment Workers Unity Forum Moshrefa Mishu was arrested today when police stormed into a factory of Tuba Group in Dhaka, firing rubber bullets and teargas canisters to disperse workers who were observing indefinite hunger strike demanding their three months’ salary and bonuses in full.

Police also arrested Jolly Talukder, joint seceretary of the Bangladesh Trade Union Center and Monjur Moin, labour leader from the Communist party.

amran Hossain female garment workers face violent repurcussions
Female Tuba worker faces further violent repercussions on the streets after Police force striking workers from the factory. Photo: Amran Hossain

Hundreds of workers from five Tuba Group factories have been protesting since the day before Eid. More than 100 workers collapsed and 17 have been hospitalized since the hunger strike began on Monday 28th July.

Furthermore the workers demand that the factories should be kept open so that the women can retain their livelihood, compensation for workers who have fallen ill and compensation for the victims of Tazreen Fashions fire.

Delwar Hossain, managing director of Tuba Group, has been detained in jail since February 9 for his role in Tazreen fire in November 2012 that took 112 lives. however,  in what was seen as a cynical use of the ongoing strike he was released on bail last Tuesday to allow payments be made.

We call on the BGMEA, the Tuba Group and the buyers of the factories to call for an end to the violence and ensure swift payments to the workers, because nobody should be forced to risk their lives for a living wage.

Uni Global Union Awards CCC with Freedom from Fear Award

The UNI Global Executive award the Clean Clothes Campaign with a ‘Freedom From Fear’ Award 2013.
ccc ireland uni global award

The award honours work by organisations who ‘break the cycle of violence against trade unionists and creating a safe environment for trade union work’ and was awarded to representatives from the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) for their work on The Bangladesh Building and Safety Accord. The Accord drove policy change in the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in April 2013 and has resulted in 112 brands committing to the Safety Accord to date, covering at least 1,600 factories and securing the safety of over 2 million workers, mostly women, in Bangladesh.

Ineke Zeldenrust from the CCC says: ‘“The successful adoption of the Bangladesh Safety Accord by so many retailers is a great tribute to the tireless efforts of so many who long foresaw the terrible events witnessed in Bangladesh this April and to the incredible mobilisation of consumers and campaigners in direct response to such a tragedy. We are saddened that so many had to suffer such a terrible fate in order for retailers to react. Six months on  Rana Plaza and a year down the road from Tazreen,  we urge those retailers involved  to end the filibustering and come quickly to an agreement on compensation that will bring some relief to the suffering of the  families and survivors left behind.

Kate Nolan and Rosie O Reilly of CCC Ireland represented the Clean Clothes Campaign to collect the award at The Communication Workers’ Union, in William Norton House, Dublin 1, Wednesday 13th November. 

 

 

 

 

Safety secured for over 2 million workers under The Bangladesh Safety Accord

Thanks to the outcry from consumers across the world in the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in April 2013, the Bangladesh Safety Accord drove a policy change among retailers operating in Bangladesh and has resulted in 112 brands committing to the Accord to date, covering at least 1,600 factories and securing the safety of over 2 million workers, mostly women, in Bangladesh.

This is an unprecedented development in the acceptance by retailers of responsibility for safety in their supply chains.

Despite over 1 million signatures from across the world Walmart and GAP continue to refuse to sign up, despite having significant manufacturing in Bangladesh and here in Ireland Dunnes Stores still refuse to acknowledge their consumer’s demands and sign the agreement.

Click here for more information on the BFBSA.

Over 70 brands have signed the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord.

Thanks to the outcry from consumers across the world, to date over 70 international brands have signed up to the Bangladesh Building and Fire Safety Accord, securing the safety of over 100,000 workers in the garment industry in Bangladesh.

This is an unprecedented development in the acceptance by retailers of responsibility for safety in their supply chains.

Despite over 1 million signatures from across the world Walmart and GAP continue to refuse to sign up, despite having significant manufacturing in Bangladesh and here in Ireland Dunnes Stores still refuse to acknowledge their consumer’s demands and sign the agreement.

Click here for more information on the BFBSA.

20 Brands completely ignore victims of Bangladesh factory disasters and refuse to compensate for their negligence.

  • Eleven brands join discussions on compensation to victims of Bangladesh factory disasters.
  • Other key brands turn their back on workers’ plight.
  • Some advance payments agreed

Eleven of the brands and retailers sourcing from the factories involved in the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters joined high-level compensation meetings, facilitated by the ILO as a neutral chair, on 11-12 September in Geneva. Many other major companies failed to attend, showing total contempt for the 1,900 workers who were injured and the families of over 1,200 workers who were killed making their products.

IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary Monika Kemperle stated: “Consumers will be shocked that almost a half-year has passed since the Rana Plaza disaster with only one brand so far providing any compensation to the disaster’s victims. I respect those brands that came to these meetings. But I cannot understand brands that are not around the table.” 

Regarding Rana Plaza out of a total of 29 brands that were invited the following 9 brands showed good faith by attending the meeting: Bon Marché, Camaieu, El Corte Ingles, Kik, Loblaw, Mascot, Matalan, Primark, Store Twenty One.

20 other companies, all of whom were invited, failed to show up: Adler, Auchan, Benetton, C&A, Carrefour, Cato Corp, The Children’s Place, Dressbarn, Essenza, FTA International, Gueldenpfennig, Iconix Brand, Inditex, JC Penney, Kids Fashion Group, LPP, Mango, Manifattura Corona, NKD, Premier Clothing, PWT Group, Texman and Walmart.

IndustriALL, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) presented a proposed model for compensation, which has been used by brands and retailers in previous factory disasters in Bangladesh. The model includes payment for pain and suffering and loss of income. For Rana Plaza US$74,571,101 would be needed to provide full compensation to all workers, of which the brands are being asked to contribute US$ 33,556,996. For Tazreen US$6,442,000 is required, with US$2,899,000 being asked from the brands.

International experts outlined best practices for the establishment of a compensation fund, overseen by a multi stakeholder committee, which could be created through an agreement by all the parties involved. No such agreement was reached at this meeting, although the brands present committed to continuing discussions on this issue.

IndustriALL, CCC and the WRC would welcome the creation of such a fund and urge all parties to work together to ensure this is set up at the earliest possible date.

The Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Md. Abdul Hannan also addressed the meeting.

Bangladeshi workers and victim’s families hoping for immediate aid will be disappointed. Brands’ commitments after two days were limited to:

  1. Meeting again within the next two weeks to share information and tools, exchange views, and consider next steps.
  2. To contribute financially to a fund to assist injured workers and victims’ families, and commit to move the process of establishing the fund forward quickly.  A coordination committee was created to take the process forward through a multi-stakeholder forum which would be open to the Bangladesh government and employers, together with the brands and retailers, unions and NGOs.
  3. Commitment to coordinated work going forward, building on initial assistance U.K. retailer Primark has already provided to victims. Primark made available their local banking infrastructure in Bangladesh to deliver any funds that are made available on an emergency basis.

Immediately after the meeting Primark committed to providing a further three months salary to all affected families as emergency relief. Unfortunately, none of the other brands or retailers present at the meeting committed to provide such emergency relief.

ZM Kamrul Anam of the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council called on brands to act swiftly:

“We appreciate Primark having already made a three month salary payment to the injured and victims’ families. But when I go back to Bangladesh they will ask me what more was decided here. Those families need food, medicene and housing.  Please, all brands and retailers, match that three months salary for these people in urgent need. Some time can be expected to establish a sustainable solution, but an immediate payment to help these families must be made now.”

At the Tazreen compensation meeting on the previous day, C&A tabled its substantial compensation initiative for the victims and demonstrated its continued commitment to finding a definitive solution. Karl Rieker, which was also in attendance also signaled a readiness to contribute and was commended for positive participation in the Tazreen discussion.

Of the brands and retailers invited to the Tazreen process the following companies failed to participate in the 11 September meeting: Delta Apparel, Dickies, Disney, El Corte Inglés, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, Kik, Li & Fung, Piazza Italia, Sean John, Sears, Teddy Smith, and Walmart.

IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Monika Kemperle stated:

“The disregard of the absent brands for the plight of workers in Bangladesh whose lives have been destroyed by the avoidable accidents at Tazreen and Rana Plaza is shocking in the extreme. Empty promises and direct untruths since the Tazreen fire and the Rana Plaza collapse all so that these Western multinationals can avoid making payments that amount to a minute percentage of turnover.”

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings stated:

“Walmart is the world’s largest retailer and one of the largest buyers from Bangladesh. They should be a leader in taking responsibility for their global supply chain. Once again Walmart had failed to make a commitment to the workers in Bangladesh who produce the millions of garments sold around the world at large profit.”

Clean Clothes Campaign’s Ineke Zeldenrust stated:

“CCC will continue to put pressure on those brands who have not yet committed to immediately and actively engage in the negotiation process and commit to providing sufficient funds to meet the amounts needed to provide the workers and their families with the compensation they are entitled to under international standards.”

Worker Rights Consortium Executive Director Scott Nova added,

“It is past time that the victims of the worst industrial disaster in history and their families receive assistance from the international brands and retailers that profited from these workers’ labor. It is shocking that not only have hardly any brands committed to any concrete level of assistance, but even more so that most of the companies implicated in the disaster did not even bother to show up to discuss helping the victims.” 

Congratulations! Over 30 Global Brands have signed the Bangladesh Safety Accord.

BlogImageCCCRanaPlaza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations!

Thanks to you major steps have been made to protect garment workers in over 1000 Bangladeshi factories.

Over million people worldwide signed the petitions.

More than 1,100 people died in the Rana Plaza building collapse, Bangladesh’s largest industrial tragedy, sparking a worldwide debate on how to improve safety.

The Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord was an opportunity to rectify the unacceptable risks currently faced by Bangladeshi garment workers because of poor standards on factory safety.

Work is now beginning on the implementation phase of the Accord. The aim is to have safety inspectors on the ground as quickly as possible in order to begin to fix the most urgent problems.

Primark has signed the Accord, along with 37 other retailers, including:
Abercrombie & Fitch, Marks and Spencer, Aldi North, Aldi South, Benetton, Bonmarche, C&A, Carrefour, Charles Vögele, Comtex, El Corte Inglés, Ernstings’s Family, Esprit, Fat Face, G-star, H&M, Hema, Inditex, jbc, John Lewis, Kik, Lidl, Loblaw, Mango, Mothercare, N Brown, New Look, Next, Otto Group, Primark, PVH, s.Oliver, Stockmann, Switcher, Tchibo, Tesco, V&D, We Europe

The next steps are to ensure compensation for the dead and injured of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh. Primark has already moved to provide compensation and emergency aid, but we need to call on the other brands to pay compensation.

Dunnes Stores continues to ignore correspondence and calls from TDs and Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland to sign the Accord. Here is a link to their Facebook page – why not ask them why they haven’t signed up yet?

More Good News!

We have more campaign success to announce. In a landmark victory, Adidas has agreed to compensate 2,800 Indonesian garment workers who were owed US $1.8 million in severance pay following the closure of sportswear factory PT Kizone in Indonesia. The agreement was reached in April and comes after two years of campaigning led by Kizone workers in Indonesia and labour rights activists worldwide, including the Clean Clothes Campaign.

Keeping in Touch!

You can also keep in touch with us and find out about campaigns and the latest news on Facebook and Twitter, which are updated regularly.

Images by Paul Roeland.

A Cautious Welcome to News of Compensation Plans from Brands Implicated in Rana Plaza disaster.

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is giving a cautious welcome to the announcements of four brands implicated in the Rana Plaza tragedy that they will pay compensation to victims of the building collapse last Wednesday. They also urge more of the 50 plus brands linked to the disaster to step forward.

While the details of the brands’ proposals have not been published, to be worthwhile, the CCC says any compensation package must cover loss of earnings for those left unemployed, immediate medical care for those injured and long term compensation for injured workers and the families of those killed in the tragedy and urges brands to enter negotiations with labour organisations on the ground before making decisions about redress.

Kate Nolan of Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland urged today ” that final compensation figures, along with agreed contributions from all stakeholders, need to be negotiated with the Bangladeshi trade unions and IndustriALL, the global trade union federation representing garment workers. It must follow standards for compensation already established following previous factory collapses and fires in Bangladesh. This includes the development of a clear and transparent mechanism for delivering short and long term compensation to the families of those killed and those injured at Rana Plaza”.

Local relief organisations are expressing grave concern about the mismanagement of databases containing information about victims and call for immediate work to start on developing a coordinated, well maintained and comprehensive database of victims. Without such,  the delivery or compensation to those who need and deserve it will prove impossible. 

Kate Nolan of CCC Ireland explains “Without  accurate records compensation cannot be distributed quickly and to the right people. A victims’ database is essential and at the moment there is chaos on the ground with hundreds missing. The injured and dead have been dispersed across a vast area and families are travelling miles to try and find loved ones. We would fear greatly that this administrative chaos will lead to long delays in compensation reaching those that need it so desperately and urge brands to have representatives on the ground helping organisations with this process”. 

The Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland briefed the Oireachtas yesterday morning on the situation in Bangladesh and the need for politicians here to do all in their power to urge brands operating in the Irish market to sign up to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement and begin work to make the Bangladesh garment industry safe.

 

31 RETAILERS SIGN UP TO THE BANGLADESH AGREEMENT

Global Breakthrough as 31 Retail Brands sign up to Bangladesh Factory Safety Deal

16 May 2013 – The world’s leading retail labels commit to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh before the  midnight deadline. The Accord now covers more than 1000 Bangladeshi garment factories. Implementation starts now!

Clean Clothes Campaign in a powerful alliance with leading unions IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union, and Worker Rights Consortium have changed the rules of the game for workers in Bangladesh. We welcome the decision of the companies who have signed up to the Accord for acting responsibly in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza tragedy. Forty-eight hours ago H&M started the ball rolling and we now have the major global household brands on board.

As the countdown ended the following companies have signed on: H&M, Inditex, C&A, PVH, Tchibo, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Primark, El Corte Inglés, Hess Natur, jbc, Mango, Carrefour, KiK, Helly Hansen, G-Star, Aldi, New Look, Next, Mothercare, Loblaws, Sainsbury’s, Benetton, N Brown Group, Stockmann,  WE Group, Esprit, Rewe, Lidl, Switcher and Abercrombie&Fitch.

Kate Nolan from Clean Clothes Campaign says: ‘The fact that so many brands have signed the legally enforceable safety Accord that has unions and workers at the centre will   bring historic change in the Bangladeshi  industry.  However, it is a shame that Gap and Walmart have not yet signed the Accord.  We strongly encourage them to reconsider their position, as the evidence shows that the programmes they are looking to adopt will completely fail to address the root causes of poor safety in the industry and will marginalise workers.  It is not too late for brands to sign the Accord which will mean workers no longer have to fear for their lives each time they enter their factory.

IndustriALL Global Union General Secretary, Jyrki Raina says, ‘The companies who signed up are to be applauded. H&M showed the way by being the first to sign this week. We will not close the door on brands who want to join the Accord after the deadline but we will be forging ahead with the implementation plan from today. Those who want to join later will not be in a position to influence decisions already made. The train moves on and these companies will drive the process – there can be no uncommitted passengers because the stakes are too high. We are talking improving the working conditions and lives of some of the most exploited workers in the world, earning $38 a month in dangerous conditions.’

UNI Global Union General Secretary, Philip Jennings says, ‘We made it! This accord is a turning point. We are putting in place rules that mark the end of the race to the bottom in the global supply chain.’

Commenting on the no-shows Jennings said, “Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is out of step. By not signing up the Walmart brand sinks to a new low. We will go forward without them.

In agreeing to the binding programme of fire and building safety reforms based on independent inspections, worker-led health and safety committees and union access to factories, signatories commit to underwrite improvements in dangerous factories and properly confront fire safety and structural problems. Importantly the Accord grants workers the right to refuse dangerous work, in line with ILO Convention 155.