Rana Plaza victims deserve compensation
For most of the ten months since the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, the TUC has been campaigning for companies sourcing goods from Bangladesh to sign up to the Accord for Fire and Building Safety, which next week begins its programme of factory inspections. There are still a few companies that haven’t signed up, and you can still take action to persuade them. But the 2,000 plus survivors of the collapse, and the families of the 1,138 victims, have still not been compensated, and they need $40m or £24m. That’s the next campaign, and it starts today, with Benetton as the first target.
Unions in Bangladesh and globally have worked with NGOs like the Clean Clothes Campaign, the ILO, the Government of Bangladesh and employer organisations there, as well as a small group of the most progressive companies to establish “the Arrangement”. This is a Donor Trust Fund established to compensate the survivors and victims’ families, and run by the ILO.
The campaign, run by CCC and global union federations IndustriALL and UNI, will target the 29 companies known to have sourced from Rana Plaza, although the Arrangement makes it clear that paying in does not mean an admission of legal liability for the disaster. That means that any company sourcing from Bangladesh can contribute, on the basis that it was only chance that factories they sourced from didn’t suffer the terrible tragedy that befell Rana Plaza. So far Inditex, Loblaw, El Corte Ingles and Mascot have donated to the fund and Mango joined them at the end of last week. As well as Benetton, the TUC is also approaching all the UK-based companies that were sourcing from Rana Plaza, whether they are Accord signatories or not, and the Bangladesh textile unions are writing to all 29 firms urging them to pay up.
The claims process, which will be implemented by a range of local organisations and international experts, will support victims, their families and their dependents to submit claims, assess the level of payments to be provided to each beneficiary, undertake medical assessments and provide follow up support where needed. The survivors and victims families have suffered enough and should know that their financial losses at least are covered. They suffered terrible injuries, lost husbands and wives, children and parents, brothers and sisters; and will bear the physical and emotional scars for life. They can and should be compensated for loss of income and medical costs.
What can you do?
Today, we want people to post the Pay Up! logo (above) on their Facebook page and tag Benetton, urging them to make a substantial payment to the Arrangement Fund. You can also tweet “@Benetton, please #payup for the victims of #RanaPlaza. It is long overdue!” If you live or work near a store selling Benetton clothes, personalise this letter and deliver to the store manager. There will be more action to take between now and 24 April.