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.”

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.