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Article

2 Nov 2020

Author:
Sushmita S. Preetha, The Daily Star

Bangladesh: Survivors continue to protest for compensation & rehabilitation eight years on from Tazreen Fashions factory fire

“Why are former Tazreen workers still on the streets?”, 02 November 2020

For the last 45 days, at least 40 (former) workers of Tazreen Fashions Limited have been staging a protest on the sidewalks outside the Press Club, unnoticed, for the most part … they are adamant they won't leave the streets until their demands of dignified compensation, rehabilitation and justice are met.

Most were permanently disabled when they jumped from the upper floors of Tazreen Fashions Ltd to escape the fire that killed over 117 workers eight years ago on November 24 … the injured workers have been … unable to find work or retain their jobs for long … With Covid-19, the charities and loans have dried up, and even the shops won't sell food on credit anymore.

Labour activists have long argued that permanently disabled workers should be given compensation equal to at least their lifetime's earnings … Eight years since Tazreen, there have been no attempts by the government to amend the provisions for compensation, which remains one of the lowest in the world…

One of the key demands of the protestors is amendment to compensation laws and provision of "dignified" compensation to permanently disabled workers…

… About 12 permanently disabled workers were given Tk 50,000 from the Prime Minister's Welfare Fund. They did, however, receive varying amounts from the Tazreen Claims Administration (TCA) Trust, established in 2015 following an agreement signed by C&A, C&A Foundation, IndustriALL Global Union, and the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) … Despite a protracted international campaign to shame the buyers into taking responsibility for the workers' plight, big brands sourcing from Tazreen, such as Walmart, Kik, El Corte Ingles, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Piazza Italia, Disney, Sears, Dickies, Delta Apparel and Sean John, either simply refused to pay into the trust or only paid negligible amounts…

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