News / Asia

Primark Pays More Compensation to Bangladesh Factory Victims

FILE - A Primark clothing store is seen in central London.FILE - A Primark clothing store is seen in central London.
x
FILE - A Primark clothing store is seen in central London.
FILE - A Primark clothing store is seen in central London.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Clothing chain Primark laid out plans to pay more compensation to victims of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh on Thursday as workers' groups held a vigil at the site demanding other western brands follow suit.
 
The collapse on April 24 that killed 1,129 people has galvanized some of the clothing industry's big names to try to improve safety standards at suppliers but they have failed to agree on a compensation fund for victims despite months of wrangling.
 
Primark, the only retailer supplied by the factory to pay compensation so far, said it would pay out for the third time to 550 workers who worked for its partner New Wave Bottoms at the building. Each will receive another three months wages.
 
It has already paid six months salary to all 3,621 workers affected by the collapse and their families, committing some $2 million in short-term financial support and food distribution.
 
The chain owned by Associated British Foods, whose low prices have helped it expand to more than 250 stores in Britain and Europe, said it was also pressing ahead with plans to pay long-term compensation in the New Year despite the lack of an industry-wide agreement.
 
A garment worker who survived the Rana Plaza building collapse takes part in a protest with her child to demand compensation, at the factory site in Savar, Bangladesh, October 24, 2013.A garment worker who survived the Rana Plaza building collapse takes part in a protest with her child to demand compensation, at the factory site in Savar, Bangladesh, October 24, 2013.
x
A garment worker who survived the Rana Plaza building collapse takes part in a protest with her child to demand compensation, at the factory site in Savar, Bangladesh, October 24, 2013.
A garment worker who survived the Rana Plaza building collapse takes part in a protest with her child to demand compensation, at the factory site in Savar, Bangladesh, October 24, 2013.
“Primark is calling on other brands involved in the Rana Plaza disaster to make a contribution by paying short-term aid to some 3,000 workers or their dependents who made clothes for their labels,” it said in a statement.
 
Primark, whose supplier occupied the second floor of the eight story building, pledged to pay a further three-months salary to all Rana Plaza workers or their families if the other brands fail to contribute.
 
About 3.6 million people work in Bangladesh's clothing industry, making it the world's second-largest garments exporter behind China, but some of the workforce, which is mostly female, earn as little as $38 a month. About 60 percent of garment exports go to Europe and 23 percent to the United States.
 
Bangladesh's factory owners are currently penciling in a rise of about 50 to 80 percent in the minimum wage in a bid to end a wave of strikes that hit nearly a fifth of workshops last month.
 
Commemorative vigil
 
The International Labor Organization has been coordinating talks to try to get an agreement on setting up long-term funds for Rana Plaza workers and for victims of a fire at the Tazreen factory in November 2012, which killed 112 workers - thus far to little effect.
 
IndustriALL and UNI, two global trade unions that have been involved in the process, are planning a candlelight vigil at sundown at Rana Plaza to mark the tragedy's six-month mark. On top of those killed in the disaster, hundreds were seriously injured and will need support for years to come.
 
“Survivors and victims' families at Rana Plaza today remembered their loved ones and all ask the same question: When will we finally receive compensation for our loss?” the unions said in a statement.
 
FILE - A view of rescue workers attempting to find survivors from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar April 30, 2013.FILE - A view of rescue workers attempting to find survivors from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar April 30, 2013.
x
FILE - A view of rescue workers attempting to find survivors from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar April 30, 2013.
FILE - A view of rescue workers attempting to find survivors from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar April 30, 2013.
Rock bottom wages and trade deals have made Bangladesh's garments sector a $22 billion industry accounting for four-fifths of exports in the country of 155 million. Retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, JC Penney Co Inc, and H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB all buy clothes from its factories.
 
Some of the 28 brands supplied from Rana Plaza say their production was outsourced to the factory without their knowledge, while others say they prefer to pursue their own compensation plans.
 
Advocacy groups, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the International Labor Rights Forum, noted that Canada's Loblaw Cos Ltd had also committed to provide short-term relief, while Italian retailer Benetton and Spanish chain El Corte Ingles were participating in attempts to establish a fund.
 
They said Zara-owner Inditex, Britain's Bonmarche and Mascot of Denmark had signaled their intent to contribute to a fund, but said scores of other brands were doing too little.
 
“It is time that all brands linked to the tragedies step up and ... pay into the fund, and thereby take financial responsibility for a disaster that they failed to prevent,” said Ineke Zeldenrust of the CCC.
 
A group of North American retailers and apparel makers set up after the disaster has already completed inspections of more than half of Bangladesh garment factories with whom they do business in an effort to improve fire and building safety, the group said this week.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid