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Rana Plaza building collapse, April 2013

On 24 April 2013 an eight-story building housing several garment factories collapsed in Savar, near Bangladesh's capital.  The death toll reached over 1,100.  The building Rana Plaza housed Phantom Apparels Ltd., New Wave Style Ltd and New Wave Brothers Ltd. garment factories which reportedly supply major brands including Benetton, Dress Barn, KiK, Mango, The Children's Place, Primark and Wal-Mart.  

Reports made the connection between alleged substandard construction and the triggering of the deadly collapse.  Workers in the building alleged that it had developed severe cracks the day before but they were reassured by a factory manager that it was safe to enter.  Trade unions and labour rights organizations such as Clean Clothes Campaign, IndustriALL Global Union and International Labor Rights Forum called for immediate action on health and safety from international brands that used suppliers in the building, and asked them to sign on to a Bangladesh fire and building safety agreement.  There were also calls for the Bangladesh Govt. to allow workers' freedom of association.  This page tracks developments immediately after the building collapse, and over the period that followed.


Latest additions to this page

Weekly Update on 2 Apr:

Bangladesh collecting details of deadly factory collapse victims for compensation amid protest, Canadian Press, 24 Mar 2014

BRAC USA Announces Renewed Push for Bangladesh Garment Workers, 26 Mar 2014

3 Retailers Give Aid to Bangladesh Workers, Steven Greenhouse, New York Times, 28 Mar 2014

Identities of 146 missing Rana Plaza workers listed, bdnews24.com, 30 Mar 2014

Rana Plaza survivor begins European tour [Bangladesh], Clean Clothes Campaign, 31 Mar 2014

Buyers also responsible, bdnews.com, 1 Apr 2014

Other recent updates:
Bangladeshi workers seek support from U.S. students, Barb Kucera, 27 March 2014

Barcelona to host sustainable fashion show on April 24, Fibre2fashion, 31 March 2014

UK minister in RMG 'check' [Bangladesh], bdnews24.com, 31 March 2014

Weekly Update on 19 Mar:

Rana Plaza brands must pay compensation by 9am on 24 April, Industriall Global Union, 7 March 2014

Rana Plaza Arrangement, Rana Plaza Arrangement, March 2014

Primark Breaks Rank on Bangladesh Compensation, Christina Passariello, Wall Street Journal, 17 March 2014

Rana Plaza survivors fearful as they continue to work in garment factories, Saad Hammadi & Jason Burke, Guardian, 16 March 2014

Labour rights, safety standards below required level, Rezaul Karim, Financial Express, 16 March 2014


Testimonies and videos

 


Commentaries and debate

 


Selection of media coverage

In chronological order:


Statements by trade unions and NGOs

 

In chronological order:


Statements by intl. organizations

EU

ILO

United Nations


Statements by multi-stakeholder groups

 


Company responses to call for Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement

In addition to highlighting statements by companies in the media above, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre sought responses from the following companies to specific calls by Clean Clothes Campaign and International Labor Rights Forum for them to sign on to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh [PDF].

Two companies (which were not sourcing from Rana Plaza), had previously agreed to the original version of the Fire and Building Safety Agreement: PVH Corp (announcement here [PDF]) and Tchibo (news item here).

On 13 April, C&A, H&M, Inditex, Primark and Tesco announced that they would join the agreement.  Many others followed: by 16 May over 30 brands had signed on, covering more than 1,000 factories in Bangladesh.  Some US firms are showing more reluctance to join the agreement, see "US companies still resisting Bangladesh worker safety deal," San Francisco Chronicle.

Companies we invited to respond:

Benetton - 8 May 2013 statement [DOC] - has joined the agreement

Bonmarche – 30 Apr 2013 statement [DOC] - has not yet joined the agreement

Carrefour - has now joined the agreement

Cato Fashions - did not respond

Children’s Place - has not yet responded

El Corte Ingles - has now joined the agreement

H&M – 7 May 2013 statement [DOC] - has joined the agreement

Gap - 13 May 2013 statement [PDF] - has not yet joined the agreement

Walmart - 14 May 2013 statement - has not yet joined the agreement

Joe Fresh – 29 April 2013 statement [DOC] - has not yet joined the agreement

Mango – 7 May 2013 statement [DOC] - has joined the agreement

Primark – statements made on 29 Apr26 Apr and 24 Apr 2013 - has joined the agreement

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All components of this story

Article
24 April 2020

Bangladesh: Millions of garment workers continue to be threatened with job & income losses, as global brands cancel orders due to COVID-19

Author: David Schilling, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)

“The collateral damage of Covid-19 in the Bangladesh apparel sector”, 24 April 2020

[T]he…Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh [killed]… 1,138 garment…and [injured]…2,500 injured…, expos[ing] the human rights risks of outsourcing…to factories with inadequate safeguards. 250 investors…, organized by [ICCR]…, appeal[ed] to apparel brands and retailers to join the Accord on Fire and Building Safety…, help[ing] to…create safe factories through a binding agreements between global brands and trade unions.

Today…, in Bangladesh: the jobs of 4.1 million garment workers are being threatened as global brands cancel over $3 billion…due to the COVID-19…, [with] many…brands refusing to accept completed garment orders…, to pay for raw materials…already purchased by their suppliers [and]…to pay suppliers’ production costs. More than 2 million garment workers in Bangladesh have already been fired or furloughed. The situation in Bangladesh is replicated in other countries.

Companies that have committed to pay their suppliers in full…include[e]: adidas, H&M, Inditex, Marks & Spencer, Nike, PVH, Target (USA), UNIQLO and VF Corporation. More companies must step up to do the same. In the coming weeks, ICCR and KnowTheChain (KTC) will be coordinating investor letters and engagements with the 43 apparel/footwear companies ranked in the KTC’s 2018 Apparel and Footwear Benchmark Findings Report. We invite investors to join this initiative and add their voices to the call for responsible action to ameliorate the desperate situation of apparel workers…

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Article
23 May 2017

Bangladesh: Rana Plaza owner, 9 others indicted for violating building code

Author: Md Sanaul Islam Tipu, Tribune [Bangladesh]

A Dhaka court has framed charges against 10 accused including Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana in a case filed over violation of Bangladesh National Building Code in the construction of Rana Plaza, which collapsed in 2013 and killed more than 1,100 people...The accused were present at the court when the judge read out the charges against them. They pleaded not guilty and demanded justice...The court fixed July 5 for recording testimonies of prosecution witnesses.

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Article
21 April 2016

ANALYSIS - Three years after Rana Plaza disaster, has anything changed?

Author: Rina Chandran, Thompson Reuters Foundation

Three years after the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 factory workers, the rights and safety of workers are in greater focus, but progress in fixing problems in the supply chain is slow, experts and activists say...More than 40 defendants face charges over the disaster, but about 24 of the accused have absconded..The disaster led to the creation of two international coalitions designed to assess and help fund improvements to building and fire safety at thousands of garment factories in Bangladesh...But nearly three years on, about 70 percent of those plans are behind schedule, according to data on its website..."While compensation for victims became a priority after the disaster, the perennial problems of safety, health and prevention still need to be addressed," said Gopinath Parakuni, general-secretary of non-profit Cividep India...Every factory is still a tinder box, and effective ways to ensure day-to-day safety are still not in place," he said...As well as companies and governments, consumers are getting involved in the campaign for greater supply-chain transparency.

 

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Article
21 April 2016

Fast fashion is crucial to Bangladesh. So what’s changed since the Rana Plaza disaster?

Author: Debbie Coulter, Ethical Trading Initiative

So what’s happened since then? Has the situation improved? And what lessons have been learnt...

It’s safe to say that Rana Plaza and the less well publicised Tazreen fashion factory fire that left over 100 dead in 2012, acted as wake-up calls to the garment industry...They galvanised global companies and brands to address the systemic health, safety and labour issues that riddled the industry...But here are two main issues:

  • Addressing occupational health and safety.
  • Promoting worker rights including freedom of association.

Strong health and safety provision. Decent wages. Better terms and conditions of employment. Freedom of association. They all have to be delivered. That’s going to take more time and effort. And most importantly it’s going to take even more collaboration...Between local factory owners and their workforce, with global brands and companies, and in partnership with strong trade unions and committed local NGOs.

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Article
21 April 2016

Three years on from Rana Plaza disaster and little improvement in transparency or worker conditions

Author: Kate Nicholl & Vikram Shako in www.theconversation.com

Three years since the Rana Plaza collapse which killed 1100 people, small steps have been made towards improving the transparency of the garment supply chain, to help consumers understand the conditions in which their clothes are produced...The collapse of a garment factory in the plaza highlighted the lack of safety procedures and the oppressive conditions that workers are subjected to. Yet conditions and wages remain very poor for garment factory workers in countries like Bangladesh, despite surface efforts by western retailers.

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Article
10 February 2016

Bangladesh: 2 get bail in Rana Plaza building collapse case

Author: Md Sanaul Islam Tipu, Dhaka Tribune

Dhaka court has granted bail to two absconding accused in a murder case filed over the collapse of Rana Plaza that killed at least 1,135 lives in 2013...On June 1 last year, the CID charged 41, including Sohel Rana, for the deaths in the collapse. A total of 18 people, including 17 from the murder case, were charged for violating the building code.

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Article
20 December 2015

Bangladesh: 24 murder suspects in Rana Plaza building collapse case abscond before trial

Author: Agence France-Presse [Dhaka]

A Bangladeshi court has ordered the arrest of 24 people and seizure of their assets after they failed to turn up to face murder charges over the collapse of a clothing factory that killed more than 1,100 people...Senior judicial magistrate Mohammad Al Amin issued the warrants after his court accepted the murder charges against the 24 fugitives for the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory compound in April 2013...Among the 41 who have been charged with murder is Sohel Rana, the owner of the nine-storey complex on the outskirts of Dhaka which collapsed on 24 April 2013, at the start of the working day.

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Article
7 September 2015

Bangladesh lifts ban on a controversial movie about its garment industry

Author: Jennifer Swann, www.takepart.com

A garment worker's rescue from the rubble of a Bangladeshi factory collapse in 2013 offered a Hollywood ending to one of the world's worst industrial disasters...But when a local filmmaker decided to make a movie based on the miraculous survival story, a court banned its release in Bangladesh last month on the premise that it could negatively affect the country's labor force...a panel of four judges had a change of heart and agreed to lift the restriction...The reversal came at the insistence of the movie's producer, Shamima Akhter, who reasoned that Rana Plaza—named after the now infamous factory—had already been approved by Bangladesh's Film Censor Board. 

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Article
2 August 2015

Where Did You Get That Dress?: Bangladesh Two Years on From Rana Plaza

Author: Shannon K. O'Neil, Council on Foreign Relations

On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza factory...collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh...Rana Plaza highlights both the best and the worst of what globalization and global supply chains bring to developing countries...This trade has helped fundamentally change Bangladeshi society, in many ways for the better...Yet the industry also pays poorly and restricts union membership. Workers routinely suffer from respiratory diseases, injuries, and even death...The often blatant disregard for labor rights and safety standards comes in part from the way these supply chains function...The response to the Rana Plaza collapse also underscores the good and the bad of this global commercial connectedness...As Bangladesh struggles to improve wages and working conditions, the public and private sectors worry about losing the industry and its jobs.

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Article
7 June 2015

Bangladesh: Funds for Rana Plaza victims reach $30m target

Author: Clean Clothes Campaign

The Clean Clothes Campaign...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. 

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