After a two-year campaign for compensation for the victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, the International Labour Organization has succeeded in securing $30 million in compensation.
In April 2013 a multi-story building in Bangladesh that housed five garment factories and a shopping center collapsed, killing at least 1,127 workers and injuring another 2,500. Women made up the majority of the workers in the building, providing low-cost labor to factories producing clothing for Western brands, including those sold in the US, Canada, and Europe. Bangladeshi officials have since charged 41 people with murder for failing to listen to inspectors orders to close the building due to the discovery of cracks in the façade. Among those charged was Sohel Rana, the owner of Rana Plaza, who was arrested after the collapse attempting to flee the country.
In 2014 the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee calculated that they would need $30 million to pay the 5,000 claimants in the tragedy. The International Labour Organization set up the Rana Plaza Fund, which met the goal of $30 million yesterday after an anonymous donor filled the remaining $2.4 million gap.
Since Bangladesh does not have a national workplace injury compensation program, worker’s rights activists both locally and internationally are calling on apparel brands and retailers like Gap, H&M, The Children’s Place, and Walmart, who sold clothes produced at Rana Plaza, to pay compensation to the injured survivors and the families of the deceased. Over the two-year campaign, worker’s rights groups and labor unions held more than a hundred store actions and demonstrations at corporate headquarters.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 6/1/15; BBC News 6/1/15;