Agreement on Tazreen compensation announced

Two years after over 120 people lost their lives trapped in the Tazreen Fashions factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, an agreement has been reached between IndustriALL Global Union and their local affiliates, Clean Clothes Campaign and C&A on a system for delivering compensation to the victims of the tragedy.

On November 24, 2012, Tazreen Fashions, a clothing factory supplying global clothing brands, was engulfed in flames. Trapped behind locked exits, over 120 workers died while trapped or trying to escape. 300 workers were seriously injured. For two years these workers have faced destitution and ongoing medical problems as a result of the fire.

Over recent days the parties have been engaged in ongoing negotiations, facilitated by the ILO, to agree principles for an agreement. Details of the programme will be finalised over coming days, with the hope that compensation will finally delivered.

Ineke Zeldenrust from the Clean Clothes Campaign stated: "Just prior to the second anniversary we are extremely pleased to be able to announce we and IndustriALL have reached an outline agreement with C&A on the principles of a compensation process. The system will be based on the system already developed for the Rana Plaza victims. This system covers compensation for loss of income, provision of independent medical assessments and ongoing treatment."

As part of this agreement C&A Foundation has pledged to contribute a significant amount towards full and fair compensation for Tazreen victims, in addition to those funds that have already been committed. The final details of pledge will be worked out and made public once the cost of the package has been finalised. Ineke Zeldenrust: "We welcome the positive role that C&A has played in this process, which has been instrumental in getting this agreement.”

The Clean Clothes Campaign will today join with Bangladeshi unions and labour rights activists to mark the second anniversary of the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions. In light of the new agreement they are renewing their calls on other brands linked to fire to pledge an immediate and substantial contribution to the compensation fund.

Workers say at the time of the fire they had just completed a shipment to Walmart, who was the main buyer of garments made at Tazreen. “Walmart has yet to take any responsibility for the workers killed and injured,” said Babul Akhter from the IndustriALL affiliate BGIWF (Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation).

Tazreen workers also produced clothing for low cost German retailer Kik, Spanish department store El Corte Ingles, Scottish brand Edinburgh Woollen Mill (UK), Piazza Italia, Disney, Sears, Dickies, Delta Apparel and Sean John. None of these brands have paid a cent towards compensation. Hong Kong based Li & Fung, the world largest sourcing agent, and the C&A Foundation have made some payments through the Bangladeshi government. El Corte Ingles and Kik have made informal promises to such a commitment and the CCC is now asking for those promises to be turned into concrete and public pledges.

The Clean Clothes Campaign is calling on these brands to follow the positive example set by C&A in this case and to prove that the needs of the Tazreen victims will now take priority.