New report CCC: Six months on from Rana Plaza

Thursday 24th October marks six months since the deadliest disaster to hit the garment industry, when Rana Plaza collapsed. With over 1,100 people killed and thousands more injured the battle for full and fair compensation continues. Find the latest update on brand involvement in the Rana Plaza and Tazreen compensation proces in the report.

Today CCC and International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) have launched this short report looking at the battle for compensation for both victims families and the survivors of both Rana Plaza and the Tazreen Fashions Fire.

Read the report here.

CCC and ILRF report that some progress has been made, but not enough yet to keep some of the permanently injured workers from having to pull their children out of school.

CCC and ILRF have supported IndustriALL global union in calling the Rana Plaza buyers and other key parties to come to the table and agree full and fair compensation for all the victims. First meetings in September, chaired by the ILO in Geneva, led to discussions on an “Arrangement" to provide a mechanism for calculating and distributing compensation to Rana Plaza families and establish a fund into which brands can contribute.

There are promising signs that this Arrangement, which is being developed by a Rana Plaza Compensation Coordination Committee made up of brands, the Bangladesh government, the BGMEA, local and global trade unions and NGOs, may turn demands for long-awaited compensation into a reality. However, CCC and ILRF warn that there remains a lack of commitment from the majority of brands implicated in the disaster to contribute the funds so desperately needed.

The report also details which of the brands are stepping up to their responsibilities, and which aren't. Primark and Loblaw are singled out for committing to providing short-term relief and, in the case of Primark, for establishing a process of delivering this to the affected families. These two companies, along with Benetton and El Corte Ingles, are participating in the Coordination Committee.  Inditex, Bon Marche and Mascot have signalled their commitment to contribute to a fund established under the Arrangement.

The report calls for all remaining brands linked to Rana Plaza to commit to joining the Arrangement, to paying into the fund and to ensuring the compensation fund is sufficient to provide full and fair compensation. Those brands which have so far failed to agree include: Adler Modemärkt (Germany), Auchan (France), Camaieu (France), Carrefour (France), Cato Fashions (US), Children’s Place (US), LPP (Poland), Iconix (US),  JC Penney (US), Kids for Fashion (Germany), Kik (Germany), Mango (Spain), Manifattura Corona (Italy), Matalan (UK), NKD (Germany), Premier Clothing (UK), Store 21 (UK), Texman (Denmark), Walmart (US), and YesZee (Italy),  C&A (Germany/Belgium), Dress Barn (US), Gueldenpfennig (Germany) and Pellegrini (Italy).

“As we pass six months since the horror of Rana Plaza it is outrageous that those families who lost loved ones and those survivors who sustained horrific injuries continue to pay the price for the negligence of employers, brands, and government  by barely making ends meet,” said Ineke Zeldenrust of the CCC, “It is time that all brands linked to the tragedies step up and commit to supporting the Arrangement and pay into the fund, and thereby take financial responsibility for a disaster that they failed to prevent".

The publication also highlights the link between poverty wages and safety, showing that low pay effectively forces workers to continue to work in unsafe buildings.    

“The workers of Rana Plaza were trapped into a cycle of poverty and debt and forced to choose between losing desperately needed income and their own safety,” noted Judy Gearhart of the ILRF. “Many workers knew it was unsafe and some even asked managers if they could shut down for the day, but quick turnaround and on-time delivery are critical demands from apparel brands,” added Gearhart. 

The report concludes with a series of recommendations for how to meet the urgent needs of the workers and their families affected by the recent disasters and how to secure sustainable reforms in the industry in the near term.