$30m has now been reached and all final payments to workers can be made

$30m has now been reached and all final payments to workers can be made

The target amount of US$30m in funding to enable the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee to make full payments to all victims of the Bangladesh factory collapse has now been raised.

The Committee, which represents all industry stakeholders, had estimated that US$30m was required to ensure all victims of the disaster receive fair and equitable compensation according to ILO Conventions.

Leading up to the second year anniversary of the factory collapse in April, there had been calls on fashion brands and retailers to pledge the final $2.7m needed to hit the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund target.

In a statement today, the ILO said that by April, over $27m had been raised and the Committee had paid out 70% of the awards promised to over 2,800 claimants. Further donations, including one "significant sum" pledged late last week, mean that $30m has now been reached and all final payments can be made.

"This is a milestone but we still have important business to deal with," said ILO director general Guy Ryder. "We must now work together to ensure that accidents can be prevented in the future, and that a robust national employment injury insurance scheme is established so that victims of any future accidents will be swiftly and justly compensated and cared for."

The Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund was established in January last year to support the Committee’s effort to finance the scheme. Bangladesh, however, does not yet have a national employment injury insurance scheme to protect victims of accidents at work. Although the ILO said it is now working with the Government, employers’ and workers’ organisations, donors and industry partners to establish one.

"In this context the full implementation of the Rana Plaza Arrangement within a two-year period will represent a very significant step forward," the ILO added.

The news has been welcomed by the Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriAll Global Union, both of which have campaigned for full donations from clothing retailers into the fund.

Ineke Zeldenrust of the Clean Clothes Campaign said it has been "a long day coming". She added: "Now that all the families impacted by this disaster will finally receive all the money that they are owed, they can finally focus on rebuilding their lives. This is a remarkable moment for justice."

Meanwhile, IndustriAll general secretary Jyrki Raina, believes the compensation scheme is "groundbreaking" for industrial accidents in the garment supply chain, but said the lack of responsibility by the brands towards the workers who make their clothes has been only too apparent.

"Two years is way too long for multi-billion dollar companies to come up collectively with $30m, but we’ve got there in the end and the families can now start to rebuild their lives. However, let’s not forget Bangladesh still has a long way to go to create a safe and sustainable garment industry."