BANGLADESH: Contributions call stepped up as funds fall short
Campaigners are stepping up their calls for brands to pay into the Rana Plaza compensation fund after it was revealed to just-style that less than 20% of the amount required to make payments to all workers has so far been received.
The committee set up to pay compensation to the victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse said it aims to distribute US$2m to around 3,600 workers and families before the one-year anniversary of the tragedy on 24 April.
The sum includes an advance payment of BDT50,000 (US$650) to each beneficiary - but the Fund needs to reach a final target of $40m in order to pay out full compensation to all workers and their families. The experts involved in designing the process estimate that 25% of the final target would be needed to make the first round of payments to all workers.
A spokesperson for Labour Behind the Label, the UK platform of the Clean Clothes Campaign, says the current total in the fund stands at $7m at present.
The organisation says more contributions are urgently needed if the fund is to cover all the claims - and is calling on other multi-million brands, including Benetton, Wal-Mart and Matalan to "stop dragging their feet".
"For the first time ever we have a system in place for making sure payments get directly to those families that deserve them," says Sam Maher of Labour Behind the Label. "Benetton has no excuse for not paying in and can easily afford a $5m contribution to the fund. Any less would be an insult to all those who were killed and injured.'
'There is no time to wait - we have one month to find $40m. We urge Benetton to make this contribution immediately and to confirm publicly that it has done so."
Primark, which had been singled out as the only signatory company of the Rana Plaza Arrangement to have not made a contribution, has since pledged US$1m to the Fund, on top of long-term payments totalling $9m to victims at its supplier New Wave Bottoms, which was located in the collapsed building.
Jan Saumweber, vice president of responsible sourcing for Wal-Mart said that while it had no production at Rana Plaza at the time of the building collapse, the company has contributed to the International Labour Organization (ILO) through BRAC’s fund, a non-profit antipoverty organisation.
“As the last year has shown, collaboration is the key to driving real change. Through the Alliance For Bangladesh Worker Safety, we are collaborating with the industry, non-governmental organisations, worker organisations and the local government to help factories make significant changes aimed at trying to prevent tragedies before they happen.”
Benetton and Matalan did not return a request for comment at the time of going to press.
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