UK: Primark offers financial aid to all Rana Plaza victims
Primark has pledged to help all victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse
Value fashion retailer Primark is to provide all victims of the Rana Plaza factory building collapse with short-term financial assistance, including those who made clothing for its competitors.
The company, which was the first brand to acknowledge that its suppliers were housed in the Rana Plaza complex in Bangladesh, was also one of the first to agree to pay compensation to the victims of the disaster. But it has also been accused of dragging its feet on providing support.
More than three weeks after making its compensation pledge, it says it is "aware that it is taking time for the clothing industry to put together the mechanism for long-term compensation payments that have been promised by some brands".
Measures now being proposed by Primark "to try to alleviate the immediate suffering of the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse," include short-term financial aid to all workers or their families and dependents in the building.
This assistance will be offered for six weeks, and "should ensure all workers and dependents - including those working in factories that supplied the other 20 or so international brands - are supported financially pending long-term support."
Primark says it hopes to start making these payments within seven days - and that they will not be deducted from the formal compensation that is agreed.
As far as long-term financial compensation is concerned, the retailer says it is working "as fast as possible" on a package.
One of the problems is that a reliable list of those who worked in the factory supplying Primark at the time of the building collapse is not yet available.
"This is clearly needed before any long-term compensation can be paid," it points out.
The company says it has also engaged specialist advisors to ensure long-term support is delivered securely so that "vulnerable recipients are protected and their interests are safeguarded."
"This is not a simple task, nor is it straightforward. But the company is pressing ahead with it as fast as possible," a statement said.
The retailer is also currently providing food aid parcels to about 1,000 families a week.
"The company has consistently said it will meet its responsibilities in full in this matter," a Primark spokesman said.
"The company is now extending help to workers who made clothing for its competitors. And the company is working as fast as possible to devise a scheme to provide long-term, secure assistance to workers in its supplier factory."
Peter McAllister, director of the Ethical Trading Initiative, described Primark's efforts as "a welcome move".
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