Brands under pressure to agree Bangladesh compensation
The estimated compensation for the Rana Plaza tragedy will be more than US$71m
With talks due to take place in Geneva, Switzerland next week to try to agree compensation payments for the victims and survivors of the Tazreen Fashion fire and Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, pressure is mounting on brands and retailers that sourced from the two facilities to reach a consensus.
The meetings on 11 and 12 September will be hosted and chaired by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
"The families and the injured have already waited far too long. Companies who are serious about conditions in their Bangladeshi production chain can send a clear sign of their sincerity at these meetings," said Monika Kemperle, assistant general secretary at the IndustriAll global union.
The Tazreen factory fire in November 2012 killed 112 workers and injured over 120 in November 2012. Major European retailers C&A, KiK and El Corte Inglés have already agreed to contribute to a US$5.7m compensation plan for the victims.
However US retail giant Walmart, whose products were made by 40% of the Tazreen lines, has been singled out for its "complete indifference" to the process. Benetton and Mango are also criticised for "dodging responsibility."
The Rana Plaza building collapse in April this year killed an estimated 1133 people, with some of the bodies yet to be identified. Many more were injured. A small but "insufficient" amount of compensation has been paid to these victims labour groups say.
Brands and retailers who have been linked to the two disasters are being called on to attend the meetings, and activists are already stepping up their efforts to persuade them - with demonstrations expected in the run-up to London Fashion Week which begins next Friday (13 September).
Representatives of the Bangladesh government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exports Association (BGMEA) have also been invited.
The estimated long-term compensation for Rana Plaza will be more than EUR54m (US$71m), with Tazreen expected to be EUR4.3m (US$5.7m)
The compensation is calculated using a formula that sets out clear guidelines for payment to families of dead and injured workers and takes into account loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and also medical costs, funeral costs and other important family expenses.
The Clean Clothes Campaign says that as well as making commitments to paying compensation, it expects the brands to collectively develop a mechanism with other stakeholders that will ensure the money is transparently distributed.
Some of the Tazreen buyers had committed to making compensation payments, but the process was stalled in April as the parties dealt with the fallout from Rana Plaza and establishing the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
The work around the compensation issue is not part of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.
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