Rana Plaza compensation fund falls short

The fund to compensate victims of the collapse Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh two years ago is still short of its US$30m target.

As the Financial Times reports, the building collapse in 2013 killed 1,138 people and caused nearly 2,400 injuries to survivers. Many survivors spent days trapped in the rubble and some severed their own limbs to survive.

To this point clothing companies which sourced products from the factory have contributed only US$23m, US$7m short of the target.

Labour Behind the Label is a group which campaigns for better working conditions for garment workers.

“All companies need to increase their donations. Let’s put this behind us,” said Ilona Kelly, an activist with the organisation.

According to Labour Behind the Label, the fund will compensate 5,000 people, including not just those injured in the disaster but also workers who were unhurt and family members of the deceased and injured.

Meanwhile, according the Baptist World Aid’s 2015 Fashion Report, just nine per cent of global and domestic fashion brands pay their international supply workers a living wage.

Gershon Nimbalker, Advocacy Manager at Baptist World Aid said, “One of the most troubling facts revealed by the research was that few companies actually knew all the suppliers responsible for producing the clothes they sold. While 39% of companies knew all, or almost all, of the suppliers involved at the factory level, that number dropped dramatically to 7% at the raw materials stage of production.

“If companies don’t know, or don’t care, who is producing their clothes, it’s much harder to know whether workers are exploited or even enslaved”.

It said Australian clothing companies Lowes, Just Jeans and Best & Less have some of the worst records in protecting the rights of workers in their international supply chains.