Cautious welcome to brand compensation, Rana Plaza

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is giving a cautious welcome to the announcements of five 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. 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.

The 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. It is vital that brands and retailers immediately pay into a compensation fund that can be quickly distributed.

Local relief organisations are expressing grave concern about the mismanagement of databases containing information about victims. There is a need for immediate work to start on developing a coordinated, well maintained and comprehensive database of victims, without which the delivery or compensation to those who need and deserve it will prove impossible. Brands need to have representatives on the ground, working together to support such a process.

Ineke Zeldenrust of the CCC says, “How can compensation be distributed quickly and to the right people without accurate records? A victims’ database is as essential as negotiating with Bangaldeshi trade union federations and IndustriALL Global Union about the level of compensation”.

Getting justice for the victims of Rana Plaza must be combined with immediate steps to prevent future tragedies. All brands involved must sign up to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement and begin work to make the Bangladesh garment industry safe.

 

 

Notes

The brands that have announced financial compensation are:

 For more information on Fire and Building safety and compensation schemes in Bangladesh see the CCC report Hazardous Workplaces, published in 2012.

http://www.cleanclothes.org/resources/publications/2012-11-hazardousworkplaces.pdf/view

For more information on The Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement see

http://www.cleanclothes.org/news/press-releases/2013/04/29/201cstop-the-killing-act-now201d-clean-clothes-campaign-urges-brands-to-sign-safety-agreement

 

CCC has been working with partners in Bangladesh to improve fire and safety conditions since 2005, when the Spectrum disaster killed 64 workers. Since then we have campaigned for justice for workers following numerous fire, including Garib and Garib, That's It Sportwear and Eurotex. See http://www.cleanclothes.org/news/2013/04/11/spectrum-collapse-eight-years-on-and-still-little-action-on-safety

In March 2012 PvH signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh unions, international unions, CCC and other labour rights groups to work on a fire safety programme. Tchibo also signed on in September 2012. Despite months of negotiation GAP withdrew from the MoU in October this year. See http://www.cleanclothes.org/news/2012/10/26/statement-regarding-gap2019s-refusal-to-agree-to-a-fire-safety-program-in-bangladesh

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