One month before anniversary of Rana Plaza collapse: compensation at last
Today, one month before the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, the victims of the tragedy and their families can finally start applying for compensation
At least 1138 workers were killed and over a thousand were injured when the Rana Plaza building, which housed 5 garment factories collapsed. Investigations into the cause of the collapse showed the building was illegally constructed and that workers had been forced back into the building despite cracks appearing in the walls the previous day. Now, 11 months on, all the families affected will finally be able to receive payments desperately needed in order to move forward with their lives.
All beneficiaries will be invited to submit a claim, with the aim to process and deliver all payments within the next six months. All beneficiaries will receive a minimum payment of 50,000 BDT by 24th April (the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy) as an advance payment towards their total claim. Those workers whose full claims can be fully processed by April 24 th will also receive their first full instalment, which will represent 20% of the total claim.
The claims will be calculated and delivered under one single approach. There will compensation based on ILO conventions 121 to all eligible victims or their families based on both international standards and national Bangladesh law. The Coordination Committee recognizes and acknowledges the hard work of the ILO in facilitating recent discussions between the Coordination Committee and Primark, and approved the inclusion of Primark as the eighth brand to publicly pay into the fund.
Under this single approach, Primark will take full responsibility for the compensation of the 581 New Wave Bottoms (NWB) beneficiaries, and will make direct payments to these benificiaries. All payments and support will be conducted under the auspices of the ILO-chaired Trust Fund. As such all NWB workers will remain eligible for making claims under the Arrangement and all the NWB workers will be invited to submit a claim to the Arrangement. That those claims will be assessed using the same methodology and criteria of any other claim. This includes the use of appropriate medical assessments, and assessments of the vulnerability outcomes, as established by the Arrangement experts.
In order to ensure the single approach laid out in the agreement and to reduce confusion among the claimants, beneficiaries will be informed by the claims processors that the payments received by Primark were advanced payments against their claim and after the claim has been processed they will be informed if they are able to receive any further payments. They will also be provided with the same post claims support as all other Arrangement beneficiaries will receive the same support, counselling, services (before, during and after the award of the payment) and are able to report any concerns or issues to the CC. The post claims monitoring will remain the same for all workers.
Finally, UNI Global Union is very concerned of the risk to beneficiaries of receiving large amounts of money through the mobile banking arrangements currently proposed by Primark. New Wave Bottoms workers will have the option to transfer to a bank account as proposed under the Rana Plaza Trust Fund after having received the first instalment of advance payments that will be made to them on March 28.
The only barrier now in assuring a full and total compensation to the victims is the refusal of many other brands, including Italian fashion brand Benetton, to make a significant contribution to the Fund. Nine brands have already confirmed donations into the Fund. However more contributions are urgently needed for the Fund to meet the $40 million is needed to cover all the claims. Benetton, Walmart and other brands producing at Rana Plaza have already failed these workers once by failing to ensure the factories they were using met national and international standards for safety. Almost a year later and they are failing them again – refusing to contribute what is needed to help these families to start rebuilding their lives.
Head of UNI Commerece Alke Boessiger said, "Primark, C&A and Mango have already paid. There is no reason why Benetton and Walmart cannot contribute USD 5 million to the fund. Brands sourcing from Rana Plaza have responsibility for ensuring all the claims can be met by making a significant contribution to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund and declare their donation publicly."