Victims and family members of the Rana Plaza disaster to receive financial compensation for devastation caused by the factory collapse.
On Christmas Day 2013, the surviving victims and families of victims who passed away in the April 2013 factory collapse at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh received some consolation for their losses. Several of the brands that subcontracted the factory for production of their apparel and accessories have set up a relief fund in order for the victims and their families to create a better quality of life after the tragic impacts of the collapse.
The fund was set up as a collaboration between the Bangladeshi government, labor rights organizations, El Corte Inglés, Le Bon Marché, Primark, and Loblaw Cos. Ltd. fashion brands. Shockingly, none of the U.S. brands like Walmart, Gap and Sears or other global fashion giants such as H&M, and Marks & Spencer that used the factories’ services signed onto the program, which will soon begin compensating victims and their families. Reports say that families of victims who lost their lives in the collapse with receive approximately $25,000 in compensation, whereas surviving, injured individuals will receive financial support to cover their medical needs.
This type of action is a step in the right direction toward repairing some of the damage caused to this community, and ensuring that this horrible violation of human and labor rights is not brushed into the corner. Although we applaud these efforts toward making change and offering aid to the victims in need, several of the working conditions and labor rights issues of the apparel industry have yet to be addressed. It should also not go unnoticed that it has taken more than eight months for the Bangladeshi government and these brands to provide aid to Rana Plaza victims – it seems that this is a rather long time when considering how many victims with life-threatening injuries or in critical condition could have been saved.
This factory collapse, which is one of many that occurred over the last year, and the ensuing 1,129 lives it claimed caused an outrage, but one that lost its spotlight fairly quickly in our media driven culture. As of last week, 13 parties have been charged as responsible for the collapse, and Bangladeshi workers have been given a pay raise from $38 to $68 per month, which is still not enough to cover the cost of basic living. These are indeed positive changes, but ones that don’t necessarily address the underlying cause of disasters such as Rana Plaza, which is the West’s inherent disconnection from the fashion production process.
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