24. April 2014

Victims of Factory Collapse Have Waited a Year for Compensation

One year after the Rana Plaza collapse, the victims now receive the first portion of the long-­awaited compensation. Several millions, however, are still needed to cover the total expenses.

DKK 3,487. That is the first part of the compensation for losing an arm, a close family member, or the ability to work. On 23 April, the day before the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, the Rana Plaza Fund paid 50,000 taka. to the victims.

This is the only compensation that unharmed survivors receive, while it is only the first portion for the invalidated workers and the close family members of deceased workers. According to plan, the total compensation should be paid out within six months. A lot of money is still needed, however, if this is to be the case.

Today, $15 million have been collected, but the UN-supported fund that administrates the compensation estimates that a total of $40 million is required. The money should primarily come from the companies that used the Rana Plaza complex for production.

Only Half of Them Have Paid

14 of the 30 brands that the campaign organization Clean Clothes Campaign links to Rana Plaza have donated to the fund. Apart from them, a number of companies with no connection to Rana Plaza have chosen to contribute.
Only one of the two Danish companies that have been involved in the Rana Plaza complex have donated to the fund. Mascot, a manufacturer of workwear, has donated a six-digit amount of crowns to the fund. The company had a series of test productions at one of the factories in the Rana Plaza complex in the years prior to the collapse.

Conversely, PWT Group has refused to contribute to the fund. PWT Group, which manages Texman, Tøjeksperten and Wagner, among others, used one of the factories for production when the building complex collapsed.

In Urgent Need of Compensation

That the victims are in urgent need of compensation from the fund is documented by an inquiry conducted by ActionAid Bangladesh among 2,222 victims. 74 percent of the survivors from the catastrophe have not yet returned to the labour market.
For the overwhelming majority, this is owed to physical injuries and disabilities, while almost 24 percent explain that the psychological damage caused by the catastrophe is preventing them from returning to the labour market. Two thirds of the respondent victims add that they have experienced economic difficulties since the catastrophe. Since the catastrophe, many families have had to manage for a smaller income, or no income at all. The salaries are already low in Bangladesh: the minimum wage for textile workers is around DKK 371, while an actual living wage is estimated to be around DKK 647.

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