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Bangladesh: Orgs Call on Brands to Complete Rana Plaza Contribution

The second anniversary of the deadly Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh is coming up next month, and some victims are still awaiting compensation.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and Social Accountability International (SAI) urged Bangladeshi public and private partners, as well as brands and retailers who sourced from Rana Plaza, to make a contribution to close the current funding gap and fully compensate victims of the tragedy.

“It is unacceptable that nearly two years after the Rana Plaza disaster, some victims and their families are still waiting for the compensation they are due,” ETI director Peter McAllister said. “We hope this joint call with BSCI and SAI sends a strong signal to companies that sourced from Rana Plaza and have not yet made payments. We also hope this spurs donations from others that source from Bangladesh, so that victims and their families can get on with living their lives.”

The organizations commended the companies that have already paid into the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, established in January 2014 to collect company contributions and hold them in trust under specified terms and to be used to cover payments to Rana Plaza victims and their families. However, to brands that haven’t contributed, the organizations said, “Given the scale of this tragedy and the human need, the Trust Fund also offers a complementary mechanism to help ensure those in need receive support. For this reason, we encourage any brand or retailer sourcing from Bangladesh to make as well a voluntary donation to the families affected as an expression of support for the victims.”

If Bangladeshi partners engage in completing care for the victims, BSCI, ETI and SAI said it would both demonstrate their commitment to protecting ready-made garment (RMG) workers, and lend credibility to the International Labour Organization (ILO)-led discussions about establishing insurance for workers in the country. The proposed Employment Injury Insurance, a key component of the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety, would ensure protection for all RMG workers and compensation for any work-related accidents.

Lorenz Berzau, BSCI managing director said, “The country needs to invest in a mechanism that protects workers and avoids having to set up exceptional measures for compensating victims. In addition, it will have a very positive impact on the competitiveness and reputation of the garment sector in the country and send a strong message to the international community that lessons have been learned after Rana Plaza.”