Rana Plaza two years on: Progress, but compensation and workers' rights still lacking

A Bangladeshi woman looks at portraits of missing_Photo Credit Associated Press Ashraful Alam Tito

On 24 April 2013, Rana Plaza building collapse killed over 1100 garment workers and left 2000 injured.  The second anniversary has seen NGOs and investors urge companies to address a 6$m shortfall in compensation for victims.  Human Rights Watch has highlighted the harassment and intimidation of workers who form trade unions - it urges the government to enforce the labour law and protect workers' right to freedom of association.

What progress has been made since the disaster, and what still remains to be done?  Find out from a range of perspectives below.  For a good summary, see this article by Lydia DePillis in Washington Post.

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Article
23 April 2015

Rebuilding life after Rana Plaza: A small shop built on big dreams

Author: ILO

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Article
22 April 2015

Bangladesh: Institute for Human Rights & Business highlights media coverage & developments post Rana Plaza building collapse

Author: Institute for Human Rights & Business

IHRB has been drawing the attention of the international community to these issues since the day of the accident...We present here our work, comprising commentaries, op-ed articles, and podcasts with Bangladeshi experts...Two years later, intimidation of unions has continued; minimum wage has increased, but not sufficiently, according to labour rights activists; and political control over the industry remains. And many workers and their families have remained only partially compensated.

 

 

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Article
22 April 2015

6 officials not yet indicted in Rana Plaza cases

Author: Rozina Islam, Prothom Alo

The charge sheets in the two main cases concerning the incident of Rana Plaza collapse, have not been submitted as yet. Sources in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)...said that the main reasons for the delay is that they have not received permission to name six government officials in the list of the accused...Five cases had been filed regarding the Rana Plaza incident. Charge sheets have been submitted in two cases, regarding firearms being recovered from the building. Charge sheets have not been submitted in the case pointing to negligence as the cause of deaths in the Rana Plaza collapse and the case regarding violation of the RAJUK building construction regulations.

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Article
21 April 2015

What have Canadian firms done since Rana Plaza

Author: www.just-style.org

A new report looking at the response of Canadian business to the Rana Plaza disaster suggests internal supplier auditing programmes are still not doing enough to address the risks. Two years after the devastating building collapse in Bangladesh, the Shareholder Association for Research & Education analused the response to the disaster by seven publicly traded apparel companies: Canadian Tire, Gildan Activewear, HBC, Loblaw, Lululemon, Reitmans and Sears Canada. 

[full report here]

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Article
20 April 2015

Rana Plaza collapse: HC seeks progress report on trial proceedings

Author: Daily Star

The High Court today directed the officer-in-charge of Savar Police Station to submit a progress report before it by April 26 on the trial proceedings of the cases filed over the incident of Rana Plaza collapse that killed 1,135 people in April 2013...On April 24, 2013, the court issued the suomoto rule asking the government to explain why it should not be directed to take appropriate legal action against the person responsible for the Rana Plaza collapse.

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Article
20 April 2015

How Benetton faced up to the aftermath of Rana Plaza

Author: Amy Kazmin, Financial Times

...[Benetton] became the target of a campaign... [by] activists dismayed by its failure to pay into a compensation fund for victims... Marco Airoldi... Benetton’s chief executive... hopes Benetton is closing a chapter in the story with its move last week to pay $1.1m into The Rana Plaza Trust Fund... In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, Benetton had paid $500,000 to BRAC, a respected Bangladeshi non-governmental organisation, to help victims access urgent medical care and longer-term support... Benetton’s $1.1m announcement fell short of the $5m western labour unions and social activists had hoped it would pay...

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Article
18 April 2015

Two years on, around one-third of the 32 firms that campaigners claim have links to the complex have yet to pay out

Author: Jonathan Owen, Independent

About a dozen clothing companies linked to the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh – which collapsed killing more than 1,100 people – have yet to pay a penny into a fund for victims, campaigners claim...Consequently it is facing a shortfall of millions of pounds, depriving thousands of victims of the money they should have received. The fund, backed by the UN’s International Labour Organisation, should be about $30m, but less than $23m has been donated to date, which means that at least 5,000 people eligible for compensation will end up with only 70 per cent of what they are expecting. The amounts being given to individuals will vary depending on their circumstances, such as the number of dependants they have and the wages earned by workers who were killed or injured.

Article
17 April 2015

Rana Plaza: rallies in Bangladesh as victims await compensation

Author: Katie Forster, Guardian

The second anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh, in which more than 1,100 people died, is to be marked by demonstrations organised by survivors and trade union groups...Rallies and tributes will take place on Friday 24 April, at the site where the clothing factory – which supplied garments to western retailers including Primark, Benetton and Matalan...There is still an $8m (£5m) shortfall in the agreed $30m fund set up for compensation. Last Friday Benetton became the last of 29 western brands who produced clothes at Rana Plaza to donate to the fund. The Italian fashion retailer gave $1.1m in response to pressure from an online petition of more than a million people. Benetton says this is twice the amount suggested by the accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers. It has also set up its own rehabilitation programme for victims, but campaigners say this is not enough.

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Article
16 April 2015

Bangladesh: CCC believes Benetton's 1.1 million USD contribution insufficient to compensate victims of Rana Plaza building collapse

Author: Clean Clothes Campaign

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Article
8 April 2015

Salil Tripathi of Institute for Human Rights & Business reflects on the importance of fully compensating victims and calls for immediate action in Bangladesh

Author: Salil Tripathi, Institute for Human Rights & Business

Nearly two years after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh...most victims’ families are still waiting for full compensation for their losses...with less than three weeks left before the second anniversary of the tragedy, a major international campaign is underway to fill the significant remaining gap in compensation funds the international community and Bangladeshi companies and government had agreed should be raised but has thus far failed to fully deliver...all parties involved should reflect on the importance of fully compensating victims and recognize the need for action now. Over a thousand people lost their lives at Rana Plaza two years ago; many more are suffering from permanent disabilities. Preventing such accidents should be a priority; so should healing the workers.

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