Rana Plaza workers ask public to support their calls for Benetton to finally pay compensation to victims nearly 2 years after the devestating collapse

Benetton CEO, Marco Airoldi : Pay compensation to the survivors of the Rana Plaza disaster

My name is Mahinoor and I am 18 years old. I used to work on the fourth floor of Rana Plaza at Phantom Apparels Ltd in Bangladesh. April 24, 2013 – the day Rana Plaza came crashing down – is a day I will always remember. It’s a day I often wish to forget. It was the worst day of my life. 

Benetton bought clothes from a factory in the Rana Plaza building. It is now the last major international brand with direct links to Rana Plaza, which has refused to give us even a penny in compensation. Benetton’s behaviour is shocking, shameful, and unacceptable. Please help us hold Benetton accountable and sign this petition.

On the day Rana Plaza collapsed I was working on the fourth floor of the building. A machine fell on me. I was stuck, and couldn’t get out. The only reason I was able get out from under the machine is because a colleague never gave up and continuously kept trying to free me. 

When I was trapped in the rubble with my colleagues, we kept looking for a way to escape. But, we couldn’t find a way out. This was horrifying. We thought we would die in there, buried under the rubble. After a long time we realized that some people from the outside were trying to break the wall and suddenly we found hope. I found hope. 

We need this compensation to replace our lost earnings and so we can begin to rebuild our lives. I have a father who is very ill and have to look after my parents. I have to earn money, but I’m too haunted by my memories to work in a garment factory again. 

I suffered permanent injuries as a result of the disaster, including the loss of a toe. I still have health problems including a poor memory, which makes it difficult to find more work. More importantly, many of my coworkers and friends suffered terrible deaths. I am still carrying the shock of Rana Plaza and sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to fully recover and move on. 

This is why I am demanding full and fair compensation for all of us who were affected by the Rana Plaza tragedy. We believe that all the buyers of Rana Plaza must pay our compensation since we worked hard making them clothes and then were either injured or killed in the process.

I know that Benetton said they donated to a charity, but this is not the same as receiving money that we are rightfully owed. When I was in the hospital I received some money to set up a shop – I don’t know who paid this money or why they gave it to me and I didn’t get to choose what to use that money for. Charity is not the same as compensation. We do not want charity. We want to be paid full and fair compensation, which is our right. 

The bottom-line is that after everything we have gone through, we should not be forced to beg or rely on charity for our living. We are entitled to full and fair compensation from Benetton. We’ve seen how international action has held other brands to account. With your help, Benetton will not be able to simply ignore their responsibility. 

Please join us in this fight for justice. 
http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Benetton_CEO_Marco_Airoldi_Pay_compensation_to_the_survivors_of_the_Rana_Plaza_disaster/?tPhBSib

Benetton continues to deny compensation to Rana Plaza victims

Benetton continues to refuse to pay compensation to Rana Plaza victims
Benetton continues to refuse to pay compensation to Rana Plaza victims

Benetton targeted over Rana Plaza compensation on International Human Rights Day.

Labour rights campaigners across Europe and the USA are marking this years’ International Human Rights Day by calling on Italian fashion brand Benetton to finally pay into a fund set up to pay compensation to thousands of families affected by the Rana Plaza disaster in April 2013.

On and around 10 December 2014, activists will be participating in street actions in France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and the U.S. demanding that Benetton immediately pay into a fund set up by the ILO to provide compensation to those injured in the collapse and the families of those killed. These street actions will be complimented by online actions from all over the world, coordinated through the launch of a new website by the Clean Clothes Campaign targeted at Benetton: https://payup.cleanclothes.org. Campaigners have also called on franchise holders of Benetton stores throughout Europe to support the campaign by asking the Benetton Group to take immediate action.

“We are using International Human Rights Day to remind citizens that compensation is a right for all workers and that until compensation is paid in full there will be no justice for the Rana Plaza workers,” said Deborah Lucchetti from the Campagna Abiti Puliti. “We are determined to continue our campaign until Benetton pays what it owes.”

Benetton is the only international brand with confirmed links to the Rana Plaza factories which has refused to contribute a single penny to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, set up by the ILO in January 2013 to finance compensation payments to over five thousand individuals who either lost a relative or were injured in the garment industry’s worst ever industrial disaster. Almost a year since the Fund was first opened it has collected just over $22 million, leaving a significant shortfall in the amount required to pay all of compensation awards.

The awards have been calculated and agreed by the Rana Plaza Co-ordination Committee, which brings together government, brands, trade unions and factory owners to oversee a system to deliver and calculate compensation awards in line with international standards. With the claims process now almost complete campaigners say that the lack of funding is now the only obstacle to delivering full compensation to everybody before the new year.

In 2013, the same year as the Rana Plaza collapse, Edizione S.r.l., a company under the full control of the Benetton family and which owns the Benetton Group, earned profits of  €139 million.  Benetton is being asked to contribute $5 million to the Fund, an amount campaigners believe is proportional given the clear links between Benetton and one of the factories at Rana Plaza and the huge profits made by the company.

“Collectively the brands linked to Rana Plaza earn billion of dollars in profit from selling clothes – only a tiny fraction of this is needed to ensure justice for Rana Plaza victims” said Ilona Kelly of the Clean Clothes Campaign. “Given the exorbitant collective wealth of the Benetton family, and the continued profits of their investment company Edizione, surely they can afford to give just $5 million of that to the Rana Plaza victims”.

Rana Plaza: a survivors story

At just 26 years of age Shila’s life has been changed forever after being trapped in Rana Plaza. This April she joined campaigners across Europe to call on brands to Pay Up!

April 24th 2013 – The Ceiling Came Down

Shila Begum had been working in a factory within Rana Plaza for over two years when she reluctanly entered the building on April 24th last year. Within minutes of sitting behind her sewing machine the electricity went off and the generator kicked in.

RP survivor
Rana Plaza Survivor, Shila Begum

 

“I felt a shock and the floor gave way. People started running in chaos and the ceiling came down. I kept protecting my head, but I got stuck between the rubble. My hand got stuck and I thought I would die. People around died.”
Shila lay trapped in the rubble for a full day, like many of those around her she was screaming out for help. Finally at 5pm someone came to rescue them.

“They tried to pull the concrete plates that were on top of us. From boths side of the plates people were pulling me and they managed to get me out. [But] the weight of the concrete had pulled my uterus. At 11pm they removed my uterus completely.”

 

 

Shila, who had moved to Dhaka with her daughter in search of work after her husband died, is now unable to work due to the pain she suffers in her arm and the traumatic affects of the day.

“I need medical treatment and I have dreams for my child, so I need to earn money. The tuition fees might be low, but all the materials you need to buy, like shoes, books, uniform and the exam money comes on top of this.”

April 2014 – Speaking Out
In April 2014 Shila joined the General Secretary of the National Garment Workers Federation, Safia Parvin on a tour of Europe. In two weeks they went to the Netherlands, Italy, France and Germany and spoke with politicians, media and workers councils about her experience on that fateful day and her hopes for the future.

She called on all brands across Europe to immediately pay up, so that she and the thousands of survivors and family members can begin to rebuild their lives.

Rana Plaza One Year On: Brands drag their feet as compensation fund remains cripplingly low.

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It is almost one year since Rana Plaza collapsed and 1,138 people lost their lives and over 2,000 more were injured.  Nothing can replace the loved ones lost, or erase the trauma both physical and mental suffered by the survivors, but they should not have to have the extra burden of not having their financial losses at least covered.

The Rana Plaza Arrangement is an unprecedented coordinated approach which will ensure all those who have suffered due to the collapse will receive payments to cover loss of income and medical costs.

US$40 million is needed in the Arrangement Trust fund by April 24th to ensure payments can be made. We are calling on all brands to pay up immediately.  Join us in calling on brands to act.

Which brands have contributed to the fund?

To date the Donor Trust Fund has received just 1/3 of the funds it needs to be able to ensure all the families of victims and the survivors receive the compensation they require.  Just half the companies who were connected to factories in the building have made contributions, they include:

Bonmarché, C&A Foundation, Camaïeu, El Corte Inglés, Inditex, KiK, Loblaw, LPP S.A., Mango, Mascot, Premier Clothing, Primark and Walmart and The Children’s Place through BRAC USA.

But nearly all of these brands have failed to make a significant enough contribution and we are calling on them to increase their donations immediately.

N Brown Group, VF Corporation and The Gap have also made contributions as brands who source from Bangladesh, but had not had a sourcing relationship with Rana Plaza.

 

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After Benetton products were found buried in the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building last year, the company denied all knowledge of the factory, until photos of their labels in the rubble were shown widely by the international media. For over six months they refused to take any responsibility for compensation until in September, they agreed to join a committee set up to design and implement compensation for workers. Two months later they walked away from the process and to date have refused to respond to campaigners demanding action.

Now, almost a year after the horrific Rana Plaza disaster Benetton has yet to contribute a cent to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, which is collecting contributions to cover compensation for the injured workers and the families of those killed.

SIGN THE GLOBAL PETITION NOW AND JOIN THE CALL ON BENETTON TO PAY UP! 

 

Find out who else is yet to pay here

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. 

 

 

 

 

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.” 

Victims of the Rana Plaza disaster speak of their trials while retailers continue to delay compensation

As retailers continue to shirk their responsibilities and dodge compensations claims, the survivors and families of victims find themselves in dire straights as they contemplate their futures without income, without compensation,  living with disability and grieving the loss of so many.

 

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

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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.

 

Primark Ireland Ltd relationship confirmed with factory as death toll rises in Bangladesh building collapse

Disregard for the lives of workers leads to a rising death tole in Bangladesh factory collapse

Labels Primark and Mango found after factory collapse Bangladesh

 Collapse


 

Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) Ireland on behalf of the international alliance of CCC’s along with trade unions and labour rights organisations in Bangladesh and around the world is calling for immediate action from international brands following today’s collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, in Dhaka Bangladesh. The collapse of the eight story building, covering three factories and a mall, cost the lives of at least 82 people and injured over 800.

Activists today managed to enter the ruins of ‘Rana Plaza’ and found labels linking major European retailers to this latest tragedy:  Spanish high street brand Mango and Primark, sister retailer of Irish low cost store Pennies. Rana Plaza also produced for a host of well known European and US brand names including C&A, KIK and Wal-Mart. These brands were also involved in the fire at the Tazreen factory, not far from Savar, where 112 workers died in a fire exactly five months ago. German costcutter KIK was also involved in the Ali Enterprises fire in Pakistan, where nearly 300 workers burned to death last September.

The killed and injured workers were producing garments for when their factory – with allegedly illegally built floors – suddenly gave way with a loud sound, leaving only the ground floor intact.  This latest collapse provides yet further evidence that voluntary company led monitoring has failed to protect workers’ lives. Labour rights groups say unnecessary deaths will continue unless and until brands and government officials agree to an independent and binding fire and building safety program.

“It’s unbelievable that brands still refuse to sign a binding agreement with unions and labour groups to stop these unsafe working conditions from existing. Tragedy after tragedy shows that corporate-controlled monitoring is completely inadequate,”  says Kate Nolan from Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland

She adds: “Right now the families of the victims are grieving and the community is in shock. But  they, and the hundreds injured in the collapse, are without income and without support. Immediate relief and longterm compensation must be provided by the brands who were sourcing from these factories, and responsibility taken for their lack of action to prevent this happening.”

To stop these collapses from happening, the Clean Clothes Campaign calls upon brands sourcing from Bangladesh to sign on to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement immediately. The CCC, together with local and global unions and labour rights organisations has developed a sector-wide program for action that includes independent building inspections, worker rights training, public disclosure and a long-overdue review of safety standards. It is transparent as well as practical, and unique in being supported by all key labour stakeholders in Bangladesh and internationally.

The agreement was already signed last year by the US company PVH Corp (owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger) and the German retailer Tchibo. The labour signatories are now calling on all major brands sourcing in the industry to sign on to the initiative in order to ensure its rapid implementation. The programme has the potential to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers currently at risk in unsafe and illegally built factories.

CCC has been campaigning on safety issues in Bangladesh since the collapse of the Spectrum factory in 2005, which left 64 people dead and involved high street brand Zara.

CCCI will participate in ethical fashion initiative Re-dress’ “Better fashion conversations” tomorrow night in the Loft, South Studios, Dublin 8 where the issue of bonded labour and safety in Pakistan’s garment industry will be discussed. For more information log on to re-dress.ie


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UPDATE

18.59pm 24th April

Primark release statement after being identified as purchasing from New Wave – a factory based on the 7th floor of  the Rana Plaza.

http://www.primark-ethicaltrading.ie/newsfaq/news/bangladesh_factory_collapse