Home / Business / #AtLongLast: Multi-billion dollar retailers finally find £20 million for Rana Plaza victims

#AtLongLast: Multi-billion dollar retailers finally find £20 million for Rana Plaza victims

A campaign set up to raise funds to compensate victims of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh has met its £20 million target following a large anonymous donation.

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) was established in the wake of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters when more than 1100 workers died after the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapsed in April 2013.

The CCC has been campaigning since the disaster to demand that international brands and retailers – including the likes of Tesco, H&M and Primark – provided compensation to its victims.

Since then over one million consumers from across Europe and around the world have joined actions against many of the major high street companies whose products were being made in one of the five factories housed in the structurally compromised building.

These actions forced many brands to finally pay donations and by the second anniversary the Fund was still £1.5 million dollars short of its target.

A large donation received by the Fund in the last few days has now led to the Fund meeting its target.

“This day has been long in coming.  Now that all the families impacted by this disaster will finally receive all the money that they are owed, they can finally focus on rebuilding their lives. This is a remarkable moment for justice,” said Ineke Zeldenrust of the Clean Clothes Campaign.

“This would not have been possible without the support of citizens and consumers across Europe who stuck with the campaign over the past two years. Together we have proved once again that European consumers do care about the workers who make their clothes – and that their actions really can make a difference.”

The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund was set up by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in January 2014 to collect funds to pay awards designed to cover loss of income and medical costs suffered by the Rana Plaza victims and their families.

In November 2014 the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee announced that it would need around £20 million to pay in full over 5,000 awards granted through the scheme.

However, the failure of brands and retailers linked to Rana Plaza to provide sufficient donations into the Fund has, until Monday, prevented the payment of the awards from being completed.

The Clean Clothes Campaign says it will continue to support the Rana Plaza victims who are pursuing further payments in recognition of the pain and suffering inflicted upon them as a result of corporate and institutional negligence.

These payments fall outside the scope of the Arrangement.

The CCC is also calling for policy changes to ensure that those affected by future disasters will receive more timely support. 

To that end, the ILO has launched a new initiative through its offices in Bangladesh to develop a national workplace injury scheme for the country’s 4 million garment workers.

“This is a huge victory – but its been too long in the making” says the CCC’s Zeldenrust

“That brands with a collective annual profit of over $20 billions took two years and significant public pressure to come up with a mere $30 million is an indictment of the voluntary nature of social responsibility. We now need to look at ways to ensure that access to such remedy is provided by brands and retailers as a matter of course, and not only when public outrage makes doing nothing impossible.”



Check Also

Subrata Roy a step closer to losing London’s Grosvenor House Hotel after court ruling.

India’s Supreme Court has asked the country’s markets regulator to start the process of selling …