Leading European Governments demand Rana Plaza brands pay up on compensation
Paris – 26 June 2014: During the opening plenary of the OECD’s Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct, UNI Global Union’s General Secretary Philip Jennings urged OECD governments to pressurize Rana Plaza brands into paying into the compensation Trust Fund. In a separate session he asked French Minister for the Economy, Montebourg and Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade, Ploumen to push the brands to pay up.
Jennings called OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria, “The $23 Million Dollar Man”, highlighting the OECD countries’ responsibility and power to force the brands to make up the US$23 million shortfall in the compensation fund for Rana Plaza victims and their families. This afternoon seven European heavyweight governments (The Netherlands, France, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and Spain) did just that: urging brands who sourced from Rana Plaza to “donate generously” to the Fund.
Jennings commented, “Thank you to the Magnificent Seven. These seven governments have put down another line in the sand for any brand with connections to Rana Plaza. OECD countries account for more than 85% of global wealth. They have the power and the responsibility to force international brands to do the right thing in Bangladesh and elsewhere. To justly compensate the victims and the families of the Rana Plaza tragedy we need donations from the brands of $40 million dollars and we are $23 million short. We applaud Secretary-General Gurria for his leadership and ask him to prove that he is indeed the $23 Million Dollar Man and help us make the brands live up to their responsibilities.
“To the brands who have failed to pay or join the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord, I say this: Rana Plaza is not a “story” that is going away, this is not yesterday’s news. Today at the OECD Global Forum the events of 24 April 2013 and the tragic wholly preventable loss of 1,138 lives, mainly young women and mothers, remain fresh in the minds of government ministers. That’s why these seven governments have laid down the gauntlet and why the brands have no choice but to pick it up and pay up.”
See more on the governments’ call for the brands to pay up on compensation and the OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct here.
Jennings is proud of the role UNI played in working with its sister global union IndustriALL in creating the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord in response to the Rana Plaza factory collapse 24 April 2013 which claimed the lives of 1,138 garment workers in Bangladesh. The Accord is a legally binding agreement and has been signed by over 180 global brands from 20 countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
See Philip Jennings’ biography here
For more information and to request an interview with Philip Jennings please contact:
Ingrid Helsingen Warner
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