24 April 2013 THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 4 20140314- 20140428

* 24 April 2013 THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 1 20130424 – 20130523

* 24 April 2013 THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 2 20130524 – 20131109

* 24 April 2013 THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 3 20131109- 20140313

PART 4 :

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20140314

* Rana Plaza victims in Bangladesh still not paid compensation:

Just seven of the 28 retailers linked to factories in the Bangladesh building which collapsed killing 1,100 workers have paid into fund

Victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh are still waiting for long-term compensation with six weeks to go before the first anniversary of the disaster in which 1,100 workers lost their lives.

Despite months of negotiations, only seven of the 28 retailers linked to factories in the building have publicly paid into a joint fund backed by the international union, the ILO. Donations from Bonmarché, El Corte Inglés, Inditex, Mango, Mascot, Premier Clothing and Loblaw are thought to total less than a quarter of the promised fund total of £24m.
read more.
GUARDIAN

* Rana Plaza: Primark called on to pay up as launch date of payments announced:

IndustriALL, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign are today welcoming the launch of the Rana Plaza Arrangement claims process, which will officially commence on the 24th March.

They are now calling on brands to contribute to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund and ensure families of those killed and injured at Rana Plaza finally get the money they are owed.

The claims processing will be carried out from an office based in Savar, the town where the Rana Plaza building was located. Potential beneficiaries will be contacted directly and invited to come to the office to make their claim.
A pre-claim legal team will work with each claimant to ensure they fully understand what claims can be made for and how they will be decided.
A hotline in Savar will be launched at the same time to respond to any questions or enquiries about the claims process. It is expected that first payments will be provided by the first anniversary of the disaster.

Payments made under the Arrangement will be funded through the Rana Plaza Donor’s Trust Fund, which has been collecting contributions from brands sourcing from Bangladesh in general and Rana Plaza in particular.
The Fund was opened at the beginning of February, with an initial target of $10
million, believed to be the amount needed to pay first instalments to all the potential claimants. $40 million is needed in total to cover full payments to over 3000 workers and families of those killed.

Since its launch in February the Fund has garnered widespread support. The Ethical Trading Initiative, the Bangladesh Accord Foundation and the Business Social Compliance Initiative have all issued appeals to their members calling on them to contribute to the Fund. Seven brands; Bon Marche, El Corte Ingles, Inditex, Mango, Mascot, Loblaw and Premier Clothing have all publicly pledged initial donations.

However there is a long way to go before the $40 million needed to make payments to all workers is found. Primark remains notably absent from the list of donors, despite their involvement in the development of the Arrangement and their previous commitment to provide full and fair compensation to Rana Plaza workers through a single, unified scheme.
They are the only signatory company of the Arrangement yet to make a contribution.

IndustriALL, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign are today calling on Primark and the other brands sourcing from Rana Plaza to fulfil their commitments and to immediately pledge funds the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund so that the victims and families of the horrific disaster receive compensation by the 24th April.

IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Jyrki Raina stated:
“As we are happy to see the Arrangement roll out on 24 March, it is now time for Primark to go back from zero to hero in its response to the industrial homicide at Rana Plaza. Stop delaying the process and join the other companies in a single approach based on international standards. Pay into the Trust Fund to secure a historic, comprehensive compensation solution for all victims.”

UNI Global Union general secretary Philip Jennings said:
“This arrangement is good news for the families of Rana Plaza victims who have waited too long for compensation. A transparent and coordinated approach is far stronger than a handful of separate voluntary corporate schemes. Companies need to commit and pay up..”

Clean Clothes Campaign‘s Ineke Zeldenrust added:
“The Rana Plaza victims have waited long enough – with the launch of the claims process we hope that families suffering as a result of the disaster will finally get what they deserve before the first anniversary. We are now calling on Primark and all the other brands linked to Rana Plaza to stop delaying and pay up.”

The Rana Plaza Arrangement here.
The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund here.
to read. & to read. & to read.
INDUSRIall  UNIglobalUNION  CCC  RANAPLAZA arragement

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20140315

* Rana Plaza compensation fund short millions:

Only seven of the 28 international brands linked to garment factories in Rana Plaza have contributed to compensation fund.

The process to begin paying compensation to the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse is less than two weeks away, but only seven of the 28 international brands linked to garment factories in the building have contributed to a fund.

About $40 million (U.S.) is needed to pay 3,000 workers or the families of those killed when the Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24, 2013.

The Rana Plaza Donor’s Trust Fund is backed by the International Labour Organization. The process to pay compensation officially starts on March 24; to date, Bonmarché, El Corte Inglés, Inditex, Mango, Mascot, Premier Clothing and Canada’s Loblaw are believed to have donated to the fund but it is less than a quarter of the money required.
Negotiations have been ongoing for months.

International unions and agencies such as IndustriALL, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign called upon brands Friday to commit to the fund.
“Since the beginning of negotiations we got commitments that brands will pay,” said Monica Kemperle of IndustriALL, a global union that is working with retailers and brands, under the leadership of the ILO. “Now we will see how serious brands are when we launch the Donor Trust funds on March 24.”
read more.
the STAR 2

* Clean Clothes hails launch of Rana Plaza claims process:

IndustriALL, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign are welcoming the launch of the Rana Plaza Arrangement claims process, which will officially commence on the 24th March.They are now calling on brands to contribute to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund and ensure families of those killed and injured at Rana Plaza finally get the money they are owed.
 
The claims processing will be carried out from an office based in Savar, the town where the Rana Plaza building was located. Potential beneficiaries will be contacted directly and invited to come to the office to make their claim. 
 
A pre-claim legal team will work with each claimant to ensure they fully understand what claims can be made for and how they will be decided. A hotline in Savar will be launched at the same time to respond to any questions or enquiries about the claims process. It is expected that first payments will be provided by the first anniversary of the disaster.
read more.
fibre2fashion

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20140316

* Savar Foundation continues rehabilitation efforts:

The foundation has raised and distributed over Tk 220,000 for the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse

The Savar Foundation, a charitable organisation that aims to rehabilitate the Rana Plaza victims, has donated two motorised rickshaws to the family members of two garment workers who died in the building collapse.

The two motorised rickshaws, worth Tk 100,000, have been donated to slain garment workers Sheuli and Bobita’s family members on Sunday.

Garment worker Sheuli Rani Das, 18, who died in the building collapse, was the primary source of earning in her family. After she died, the family has been suffering a lot due to inadequate compensation from the authorities.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Primark to pay £6m more to victims of Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh:

Retailer agrees payout weeks before anniversary of tragedy, in move that raises hopes of spurring donations from other firms

Rana Plaza building in Dhaka.
Primark’s payout will go directly to 581 workers, or their families, employed by its supplier based at the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Dhaka. Photograph: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images

Primark is to pay out a further $10m (£6m) in compensation to victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh weeks before the anniversary of the disaster in which more than 1,100 garment workers lost their lives.

The British retailer has agreed to pay $9m to the 581 workers, or their families, from New Wave Bottoms, Primark’s supplier, which was based on the second floor of the building in Dhaka. A further $1m will go into a communal compensation pot to be shared among all the 3,600 workers who suffered when the eight-floor Rana Plaza complex collapsed in April last year.

Both payments should be made under the auspices of a compensation scheme backed by UN agency the International Labour Organisation (ILO), under a deal agreed over the weekend.

Campaigners hope Primark’s payment will help persuade other retailers linked to the Rana Plaza building to pay up. The latest round of payouts will bring Primark’s total compensation bill to $12m after it paid out $2m in short-term support for all workers within the Rana Plaza building, including those working for other brands.
read more.
GUARDIAN

* Rana Plaza survivors fearful as they continue to work in garment factories:

Less than year on from tragedy, most have had no choice but to return to industry despite ill-health and dread of another collapse

Pervin Banu walks to work every morning scared. A survivor of the collapse of a factory making cheap clothes for western firms on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, almost 11 months ago, the 22-year-old once more spends her days at a sewing machine. Now, in another factory, she turns out trousers for export.

“If there were any other alternative I would choose that. You don’t want to go back for a second time after returning once from a death trap,” Banu said.

Her route takes her past the huge pit, now filled with refuse and brackish water where the building she worked in once stood. A heavy cement memorial has been constructed by unions. Police officers guard against looters, street children, the curious, the media and the bereaved. Yards away, the buses, trucks and battered cars stream past, choking the road that leads from the suburb of Savar to the centre of Dhaka.

Thronging the pavement every morning and evening, are the tens of thousands of workers, a fraction of the four million in Bangladesh, who are employed directly or indirectly by the garment industry.
Despite the disaster, the industry is thriving.
read more.
GUARDIAN

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20140318

* Primark to start long-term payments to 580 workers of New Wave Bottoms:

Primark, a UK-based retailer, announced Monday that it will begin long-term payments to 580 workers of the New Wave Bottoms that produced apparel products for it.

The payment worth US$ 9.0 million will be distributed to those workers or their dependants who died or were injured due to the Rana Plaza building collapse, a statement issued by the retailer said Monday.

It will also contribute $ 1.0 million to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund chaired by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for distribution among the workers in its competitors’ supply chain in addition to the $ 2.0 million which it has already distributed to the workers or their families.

This brings the total that Primark is paying to the victims of Rana Plaza to some $ 12 million.
Primark is making the long-term payments, for purposes of recognition, as compensation under the auspices of the Coordination Committee of the Rana Plaza Arrangement.
read more.
FE bd

* Primark to give $10m more to Rana Plaza victims:

Primark, an Irish clothing retailer, on Monday announced to pay out $10 million in compensation to victims or their dependents of the Rana Plaza factory collapse weeks before the anniversary of the disaster in which more than 1,100 garment workers lost their lives.

The retailer has agreed to pay $9 million to the 580 workers, or their families, from New Wave Bottoms, Primark’s supplier, which was based on the second floor of the building.
A further $1 million will go to workers from its competitors’ supply chain and this amount will be paid to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund chaired by the International Labour Organisation for distribution, Primark said in a press release
The latest round of payouts will bring Primark’s total compensation to $12 million as the retailer has paid out $2 million in short-term support for all workers within the Rana Plaza building, including those working for other brands.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
BD new age UNB DHAKATRIBUNE aljazeera

* Primark to give away $9m this week:

British clothing retailer Primark will start paying compensation to the Rana Plaza victims within this week.

The retailer will disburse $9 million to 580 workers (or their dependants) of New Wave Bottoms, one of the five garment units that were housed in the ill-fated Rana Plaza building.
“The payment will be met in full, in cash, directly by Primark and will amount to some $9 million,” the retailer said in a statement yesterday.
Primark is giving away the compensation only to the workers of New Wave Bottoms as the retailer used to source garments from this unit on the second floor of the building.
Besides this amount, Primark has already disbursed $2 million to the workers or their families immediately after the collapse of the building.
Another $1 million will go to a common fund — Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund — where International Labour Organisation is the chair.
read more.
daily star bd

* Benetton fails on worker safety in Bangladesh:

  • Investigation reveals Benetton fails to disclose full list of suppliers to Bangladesh safety programme
  • Benetton called on to pay $5 million in compensation to Rana Plaza victims.

20140318 CCC

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is today calling on Benetton to live up to their promises after an investigation conducted by the journalists of Presa Diretta, in collaboration with Campagna Abiti Puliti (CCC Italy), revealed that Benetton has violated the terms of the Bangladesh Accord, which it signed in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza tragedy, where 1138 people were killed and almost 2000 were injured when the eight story building collapsed.

At the same time Benetton continues to deny compensation to workers injured in the disaster and to the families of those killed.

Benetton signed the Accord in May 2013 under pressure from a worldwide campaign which generated over a million signatures. Full disclosure of all supplier factories is a basic principle of the Accord, whose objective is to ensure that all factories used by its members meet international building safety standards. The film taken by the journalists shows that at least two Benetton suppliers had not been disclosed to the Accord and did not show up on the public list of factories that will be inspected by the Accord team. By failing to disclose their suppliers Benetton not only violates this legally binding agreement but continues to put those workers at risk of yet another factory disaster.

This is not the first time Benetton has failed to fulfil its obligations or public commitments in relation to this disaster. Benetton initially denied they were sourcing from one of the Rana Plaza factories last April, but were forced to acknowledge their connection after photos of their products among the rubble were published worldwide.
read more.
CCC

* Take action:

Benetton has been caught again. Investigative journalists have found out that Benetton has failed to fully disclose to the Bangladesh Safety Accord which factories are producing for them – a requirement for every brand signed up to the legally-binding Accord.

This means that Benetton may be using factories that are not being properly checked and the company is hiding that fact from the public.  

Benetton knows first-hand the risks of using unsafe factories. Benetton products were found buried in the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building, where at least 1,138 workers lost their lives on April 24th last year. Yet, Benetton is still willing to put more workers at risk by failing to include all their factories on the Accord team’s inspection list.

Benetton’s actions show that they don’t care about the lives of workers making their goods. Almost a year after the horrific Rana Plaza disaster they have yet to contribute a cent to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, which is collecting contributions to cover compensation for the injured workers and the families of those killed.

We are confident that the Accord will now take action to ensure these factories are now included in their inspection schedule. But Benetton must change its ways. Email Benetton now to send a message that workers’ lives matter and demand that Benetton make an immediate payment of $5 million into the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund. 

We know that Benetton cares about what people think. They only signed the Accord last year following a million signature campaign demanding they did so. Now they are avoiding their legal obligations under the Accord and are ignoring the plight of the Rana Plaza victims. Benetton must take responsibility now. Take action and demand that there are no more victims of Benetton!
read more and Please Sign!
ilrf

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20140319

* Benetton denies compensation to RMG victims:

Benetton is said to be denying compensation to workers injured in the Rana Plaza disaster

Benetton Group, a global apparel retailer based in Italy, is said to be violating terms of an accord it signed to compensate victims of Rana Plaza disaster.

Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), one of the largest alliances of labour unions and non-governmental organisations in the world, made the claim in a press release.
Benetton signed the accord in May 2013 under pressure from a worldwide campaign which generated over a million signatures, the report said on Wednesday.

However, now, Benetton is said to be denying compensation to workers injured in the Rana Plaza disaster that killed 1,138 workers and injured about 2,000 others.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Bangladesh unions criticise compensation payments:

Primark was one of more than two dozen Western retailers who had orders at the Rana Plaza factory complex that collapsed on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka in April last year. The collapse killed 1,135 workers and injured more than 1,500.

Primark announced on Monday it would start paying out $9 million to the families of 580 dead or injured workers who worked for its supplier New Wave Bottoms, one of the five factories based at the Plaza.

The payments being arranged through Primark’s local partners “will be met in full, in cash”, it said, adding that it would contribute another $1 million to an UN-backed fund which aims to raise $40 million to compensate all the families of dead and injured workers.

While New Wave Bottom workers welcomed the compensation, Bangladeshi unions and manufacturers criticised Primark’s unilateral move, saying it could sow discord and spark protests.

Roy Ramesh, head of the Bangladesh chapter of global labour group IndustriaALL, said the retailer’s plan to compensate workers without going through the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other agencies meant hundreds of other victims would receive nothing. Separate initiative ‘might create problems’

“It should have contributed to the ILO-chaired fund to ensure that all the victims and their families had their share,” Mr Ramesh said.
“Not only the ILO, Primark is also bypassing the government, the garment manufacturers’ association and the labour unions, although the retailer itself is a part of the ILO-chaired initiative,” he said.
read more. & read more.
UNB FE bd

* Each Rana Plaza worker to get Tk50,000 from Trust Fund:

‘It is a great achievement for the trade union that it has been able to provide compensation for all workers’

Every worker who worked at the garments housed at Rana Plaza will be given Tk50,000 as compensation from the “Rana Plaza Donor’s Trust Fund,” formed  to compensate the victims of the deadly factory disaster.

The decision was made at a meeting of the Rana Plaza Compensation Coordinating Committee yesterday.

This fund would be distributed among workers by the coordinating committee through bKash by April 15, Ramesh Chandra Roy, secretary general of IndustriAll Bangladesh Council, told the Dhaka Tribune.

The Trust Fund, backed by the International Labour Organisation, includes IndustriALL, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign. The ILO is the trustee of the fund.

Currently, the Trust Fund has $8m while British retailer Primark would give $1m to the fund. About $40m is needed to pay 3,000 workers or the families of those killed in the collapse on April 24 last year. At least 1,133 workers were killed and over 2,500 injured in the incident.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* It’s time for the big brands to pay up:

The one-year anniversary of the mass industrial homicide of Bangladeshi garment workers is fast approaching.

More than 1100, mainly female, garment workers were killed when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed on 24 April 2013.

Last week the first round of independent and transparent factory inspection reports were completed and released. The results were so stark that some factories had to be shut down immediately – and thousands of low-paid garment workers lost their jobs – because of serious safety problems, including structural flaws in buildings.

The big global unions IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign are leading a worldwide push to get the big brands to compensate workers and fund major workplace safety improvements.
read more.
workinglifeAU

* Rana Plaza Trust Fund to launch worker payments as of 24 March:

The 3,600 workers and families owed compensation from the Rana Plaza collapse a year ago will finally be able to claim payment as of 24 March. An advance payment of 50,000 BDT (US$650) will be made to every beneficiary before the one-year anniversary on 24 April.

On 18 March the Coordination Committee of the Rana Plaza Trust Fund approved the inclusion of Primark as the eighth brand to publically pay into the fund. Primark will cover the cost of full reimbursement of the 581 workers at the New Wave Bottoms factory, one of five factories at Rana Plaza. All payments and support will be conducted under the auspices of the ILO-chaired Trust Fund.

The initial payment of US$650 will be made between 10 and 24 April. This process will include assistance to all claimants in setting up bank accounts. These payments will total US$2 million. The estimated total required funds are USD 40 million to make payments in line with ILO Convention 121. All stakeholders will continue work to communicate and outreach to all claimants to inform and to finalise a comprehensive database of all 3,600 survivors and families of the killed.

IndustriALL Global Union assistant general secretary Monika Kemperle will be relieved to see Rana Plaza workers finally receive their money:
“Months of work under the expert stewardship of the ILO has brought us to this point. The Rana Plaza Trust Fund is a true international standard-setter in line with ILO Convention 121. The job is not finished though, many brands are still yet to contribute while further contributions will be expected from the eight brands that have already paid.
But the one-year anniversary of that terrible disaster will not pass with the 3,600 families still waiting.”

The Rana Plaza brands that have not yet publically contributed to the fund are: Adler Modemärkte, Auchan, Ascena Retail, Benetton, C&A, Carrefour, Cato Fashions, Children’s Place, Grabalok, Gueldenpfennig, Kids for Fashion, KiK, LPP, Manifattura Corona, Matalan, NKD, PWT, Walmart and Yes Zee.

The 3,600 families of dead workers and injured workers have already received 9 months’ salaries since the tragedy; totaling US$ 2 million that was paid out by Primark, Loblaw of Canada last year also paid three months’ salary to all 3,600 claimants.
Join the LabourStart campaign and write to these brands here.
read more.
Home

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20140320

* RMG workers to get Tk 50,000 each by April 15:

The Rana Plaza compensation coordination committee has decided that a total of 3,639 workers who worked at the five garment factories housed in the collapsed building at Savar will get Tk 50,000 each from the Rana Plaza Donor’s Trust Fund by April 15.

At a video conference on Tuesday, the committee comprising representatives of International Labour Organisation, IndustriAll, global retail brands and Bangladesh garment owners decided that the workers or their dependents would get the compensation.
The committee, however, decided that a total of 581 workers of New Wave Bottom, one of the five garment factories, would get the money on March 28 from Primark, a global brand, and the workers of the four other garment units and their dependents would get the compensation by April 15 under the supervision of the coordination committee.
‘Apart from the support, those who were killed or injured in the Rana Plaza building collapse will get compensation according to the section 121 of the ILO convention,’ Roy Ramesh Chandra, secretary general of IndustriAll Bangladesh Council, told New Age on Wednesday.
read more.
BD new age

* Rana Plaza Survivor Left With Debilitating Trauma, Mere $519 In Compensation So Far:

When Reba Sikder reported to work on April 24 last year, she found a group of her colleagues milling about and chatting anxiously outside Rana Plaza, a garment factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The workers had become aware of a large crack in the building the previous day. Unconvinced it was safe, they were afraid to go inside to their factory and begin their shifts.

But soon, Sikder’s line chief came outside and berated the group. “He was saying, ‘You bloody people, go inside. If you don’t go inside, you won’t get your salary,’” Sikder recounted recently, speaking through an interpreter. The supervisor smacked one of her female co-workers, according to Sikder.

As the world now knows, business went on as usual at Rana Plaza that day, despite the known structural weaknesses of the building. The 8-story tower soon crumbled, ultimately killing more than a 1,100 garment workers and changing the lives of thousands of survivors like Sikder. It would be two and a half days before she was extracted from the rubble and saw daylight.

“We thought there was no hope,” said the slightly built Sikder, looking a good deal younger than her 18 years.

Still without work, Sikder recently visited the U.S. to share her story with lawmakers and college students. She spoke with HuffPost after delivering testimony to Congress on the need to prevent similar disasters and to compensate victims for their losses. Sikder has received the U.S. equivalent of $519 through two compensation funds, one managed by a clothing brand that was sourcing from Rana Plaza, the other through the Bangladeshi government. Her family quickly burned through all of it.
(….)

However meager her wages were, like other poor garment workers Sikder’s factory job provided a crucial income for her struggling family. Her parents are too old to work, and her brother makes a mere $25 a month toiling in one of the country’s many jute mills. Despite her survival, Sikder said, the Rana Plaza disaster has left her family in “a severe condition,” which is why she’s continued to press Western brands not only for compensation, but also for greater investments into safety.

“You all wear clothes that were made in Bangladesh. Can you make an effort to save our workplaces?” Sikder said. “Thousands and thousands of workers shouldn’t die just for coming to work.”
read more.
huffpost

* Benetton denies compensation to RMG victims:

It made the claim in a press release

Benetton Group, a global apparel retailer based in Italy, is said to be violating terms of an accord it signed to compensate victims of Rana Plaza disaster.

Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), one of the largest alliances of labour unions and non-government organisations in the world, made the claim in a press release.

Benetton signed the accord in May 2013 under pressure from a worldwide campaign which generated over a million signatures, the report said on Wednesday.

However, Benetton is now said to be denying compensation to workers injured in the Rana Plaza disaster that killed 1,138 people.

Benetton was called on to pay $5m in compensation to the Rana Plaza victims, however did not do so, the CCC said on the basis of an investigation report.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Take action: Make sure Benetton pays what they owe:

20140318 CCC

We know that Benetton cares about what people think. They only signed the Accord last year following a million signature campaign demanding they did so.

Now they are avoiding their obligation and are ignoring the plight of the Rana Plaza victims. Benetton must take responsibility now.

Benetton has been caught again. Investigative journalists have found out that Benetton has failed to fully disclose to the Bangladesh Safety Accord which factories are producing for them – a requirement for every brand signed up to the legally-binding Accord. This means that Benetton may be using factories that are not being properly checked and the company is hiding that fact from the public.

Go straight to the action link:
http://action.laborrights.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=8134#petition Benetton knows first-hand the risks of using unsafe factories. Their products were found buried in the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building, where at least 1,138 workers lost their lives on April 24th last year. Yet, Benetton is still willing to put more workers at risk by failing to include all their factories on the Accord team’s inspection list.
read more.
CCC

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20140321

* ‘DNA tests could be decisive to identify bodies’:

The identifications could be made by doing DNA tests of the family members of over 800 victims, whose bodies were claimed by relatives without providing any DNA sample

The identities of over a hundred Rana Plaza collapse victims, who remain unidentified almost a year after the disaster, could be ascertained if necessary steps were taken by the government, speakers at a seminar said yesterday.

The identifications could be made by doing DNA tests of the family members of over 800 victims, whose bodies were claimed by relatives without providing any DNA sample, speakers added. The process would require around Tk50 lakh, as every DNA test costs Tk5,000.

Addressing a seminar on identifying Rana Plaza victims, Professor Dr Sharif Akhteruzzaman, national technical adviser for the national DNA laboratory, said the process of handing over the bodies of Rana Plaza victims had been “totally wrong,” as only visual identification marks were used to verify relatives’ claims on more than 800 bodies.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Keep flow of Rana Plaza compensation moving:

The Donors Trust Fund, which is based entirely voluntary contributions, should be supported by as many brands and stakeholders as possible.

We welcome the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee’s announcement that it will be processing claims and payments for injured victims and families of the over 1,100 people killed in the Rana Plaza disaster, from Monday next week.

This should allow initial payments by the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund to be made ahead of the one year anniversary of the disaster on April 24.

This fund is run by the stakeholders who signed the Rana Plaza Compensation Arrangement last year. The arrangement was set up to provide a coordinated framework to compensate the injured workers and dependents of the over 1,100 killed, according to ILO standards.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Rana Plaza compensation set to begin Monday:

The victims of the Rana Plaza collapse will receive the first compensation instalment on March 24, a month before the first anniversary of the industrial disaster that killed 1,135 workers.

Each of the total 3,600 people, including workers and beneficiaries, will be paid Tk 50,000 ($650) in advance—before the disaster’s first anniversary on April 24, according to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund coordination committee’s decision on Tuesday.
British retailer Primark will bear full reimbursement costs of 581 workers of New Wave Bottoms, one of the five factories that were housed in Rana Plaza. “All payments and support will be conducted under the auspices of the ILO-chaired Trust Fund,” IndustriALL Global Union said in a statement.
An estimated $40 million is necessary to make compensation payments.
to read.
daily star bd

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20140323-24

* No more apathy to apparel factory disaster survivors:

The death of Sumaya, who managed to escape the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Nischintapur on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka on November 24, 2012, by jumping from the second floor of the building but sustained severe head injuries, died on Friday night is not only deeply shocking but it also yet again betrays that the promises made various quarters, especially the government, made to extend all-out support to the survivors were high on rhetoric.

As apparel worker rights activist, who was managing her treatment, quoted in a New Age report on Saturday, Sumaya finally died in her house at Nischintapur with lesser treatment facilities although several people promised help in this regard.

According to the ENT specialist at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, who treated Sumaya, a cancerous myofibroblastic tumour developed in her nose and spread to the eye and the brain.

It may be pertinent to recall here that being reportedly deprived of proper treatment over months, despite repeated pledges on part of the government in particular over the issue, a Rana Plaza collapse survivor named Salma, a collapse that claimed lives of over 1,100 workers of apparel factories housed in the illegal eight-storey building at Savar and limbs of several thousand more in April 2013, reportedly took her own life in January in her rented house at Tongi.

As mentioned in these columns on more than one occasions thus far, like all other disasters that occurred in different apparel factories since the sector’s inception, investigations have found out that the Tazreen fire was attributable to owners’ apathy to worker safety in the first place.

In this context, the Tazreen management was primarily responsible for helping the survivors to get back to normal life, not to mention making adequate compensation to the victims’ families.
Either way, the government needs to immediately look into the matter for further indifference to survivors, be they of the Tazreen fire or of the Rana Plaza collapse, may send out a wrong signal to apparel workers at large that they are alone when it comes to facing the problems, that too, caused by their owners.
More importantly, such a situation does not bode well for the sector crucial for the nation seeking to come out of poverty soon.
to read.
BD new age

* Rana Plaza owner gets bail:

Savar police has also filed a case against six people on charges of negligence that caused deaths

The High Court has granted bail to Sohel Rana in a case filed under the Building Construction Act and Building Code in connection with the Rana Plaza collapse.
The bench of Justice Md Rezaul Hasan and Justice Khurshid Alam Sarkar passed the order on Sunday afternoon.
Deputy Attorney General Md Selim told the Dhaka Tribune that the court granted six months bail to Rana in the case filed for violating the Building Construction Code.
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DHAKATRIBUNE FE bd daily star bd UNB INDEPENDENT

* Soheil Rana gets bail – will the murderer slip away from justice? :

The infamous Soheil Rana, owner of Rana Plaza, was given bail today on 23 March 2014 by the High Court.

Rana Plaza was the work place of more than 3600 garment workers housing 4 garment factories which collapsed on 24 April 2013. At least 1136 lives were lost in this catastrophic incident while thousands were critically injured for life.

The court granted Rana a six-month bail in the case filed by RAJUK. Md Helal Ahmed, an official of the Capital Development Authority in charge of Savar Model Thana, filed the case after the devastating collapse.

Rana’s father Abdul Khalek, also an accused in RAJUK’s case, was granted bail by the High Court in September 2013. Those accused in the case may get up to two years in prison if the court finds them guilty of the charge.
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* Bail for Rana Plaza owner:

The High Court yesterday granted six months’ bail to Sohel Rana in a case filed for violating building code in constructing Rana Plaza, which collapsed last year killing over a thousand garment workers.

The bail order prompted angry reactions from the labour leaders.
The HC bench of Justice Md Rezaul Hasan and Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar passed the bail order following a petition by Sohel’s lawyers yesterday.

However, the bench refused to hear another bail petition filed by Sohel in the case filed for the loss of lives in the collapse.
The nine-storey Rana Plaza that housed a number of readymade garment factories collapsed on April 24 last year, killing 1,138 people, mostly garment workers.
However, Rana will not be released from jail since he is arrested in the other case filed by police, Deputy Attorney General Md Selim told The Daily Star.
Selim also said the government would file an appeal before the Supreme Court challenging the HC bail order.

Meanwhile, different workers’ groups have given angry reaction and demanded death penalty of Rana.
“With due respect for the court, I want to say the bail order is shameful. Because of Rana, 1,138 workers died and numerous received severe injuries,” said Amirul Haque Amin, president of National Garment Workers’ Federation.
“Rana had forced the workers to enter the factories though big cracks appeared in the building. We are not satisfied at the bail order to such a person,” he added.
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daily star bd

* Rana granted bail in 1 case, denied in other:

The High Court on Sunday granted bail for six months to Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana in a case filed by Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) under the Building Construction Act.

However, the Juba League leader has to remain behind the bars as the HC vacation bench comprising Justice M Rezaul Hasan and Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarker dismissed his bail pleas in the murder case filed over the Rana Plaza collapse that killed over 1100 people last year.
Deputy attorney general Mohammad Selim stood for the state while Abdul Quader Bhuyian argued for Rana.
Rana Plaza, a multi-storey building at Savar on the outskirts of the capital, came down crashing on April 24 last year. Rajuk filed the case with Savar Model police station against Sohel Rana for violating the Bangladesh National Building Code on the day.
Police also filed a case accusing six people, including Sohel Rana, on April 25 on murder charge
to read.
BD new age

* Rana Plaza owner gets bail in building law flouting case:

The High Court granted bail to Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana for six months

The High Court yesterday granted bail to Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana for six months in a case lodged for flouting building construction law.

The vacation bench of Justice Md Rezaul Hasan and Justice Khurshid Alam Sarkar passed the order following a bail plea placed by defence lawyer Abdul Kader Bhuiyan.
Deputy Attorney General Md Selim told the Dhaka Tribune that the court granted the bail as it found the offence bailable. During the hearing, Selim opposed the plea.
On February 2, the High Court bench of Justice Nizamul Huq and Justice Jahangir Hossain rejected the bail petition of Rana.
Selim said the defence placed fresh petition yesterday.
(…)
The investigators found that Rana got approval for a six-storey building, and later, violating the related law, illegally obtained approval for four more floors. The building was first a commercial one, and then it was approved as an industrial structure.

Rana rented out the floors to the factories to install big and heavy machines. The building thus became more vulnerable. The Savar municipality helped his illegal activities by providing trade licenses to the five garment factories in the commercial building.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

* Survivors of the Rana Plaza Building Collapse to Start claiming Compensation:

From today, one month before the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, the families of the 1138 workers killed in the disaster and over a thousand workers left with life changing injuries can start registering claims for compensation to cover the financial losses and medical costs they suffered as a result.

As the claims begin campaigners are strengthening their call for brands buying from factories located in the devastated building, including Matalan, Benetton and Walmart, to pay millions of dollars in compensation into the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, set up to finance these payments.

The Trust Fund, which has been set up by the International Labour Organisation has been open for contributions since February.
The Fund needs to reach a final target of $40million in order to pay out full compensation to all workers and their families. The experts involved in designing the process estimated that 25% of the final target would be needed to make the first round of payments to all workers.
The coordination committee now believe that sufficient funds are available and agreed to launch the claims process on March 24th, one month before the first anniversary.

The claims will be calculated and delivered in line with international standards under a system known as the Arrangement.
The process will be overseen by a multi-stakeholder coordination committee comprising of international and Bangladeshi representatives from government, industry and the trade unions.
The timing of the claims launch will ensure that all victims and their family should receive an initial payment by the first anniversary of the disaster on April 24th. All beneficiaries will be invited to submit a claim, with the aim to process all payments within six months, which will paid out over up to four instalments. Every family will
receive a minimum payment of 50,000 BDT by 24th April (around $2 million in total) as an advance payment towards their claim.
Those workers whose claims can be fully processed by April 24th will also receive their first full instalment, which will represent 20% of their total claim.

The only barrier now in getting compensation to the victims of the garment industry’s worst ever disaster is the refusal of many brands, including Italian fashion brand Benetton, UK high street brand Matalan and retail giant Walmart to make significant contributions to the Fund.

Ten brands have already confirmed donations into the Fund, including Mango, Inditex and C&A.
This week an agreement was reached between the Coordination Committee of the Arrangement, the multi-stakeholder body overseeing the compensation process, and Primark, which initially set up its own process for delivering payments to 500 workers employed at New Wave Bottoms, the factory supplying the Anglo Irish retailer.
Under the agreement workers employed at New Wave Bottoms will now be brought under the Arrangement process and their claims will be assessed using the same
criteria and methodology as all other affected workers.
Payments to NWB workers will be made directly by Primark, but the timescale will be coordinated to ensure all families are treated fairly and equitably.
Primark have made an initial contribution of $1 million to the Trust Fund; once their direct payments have been calculated it is expected their final contribution will be around $9 million.

However, the final $40 million target remains a long way off and more contributions are urgently needed if the Fund is to cover all the claims.
Labour rights campaigners from the Clean Clothes Campaign across Europe, the International Labor Rights Forum in the United States, and the Maquila Solidarity Network in Canada are calling on other multi-million brands, including Benetton, Walmart and Matalan to stop dragging their feet.

Emma Harbour of the Clean Clothes Campaign states: “These brands already
failed these workers once by failing to ensure the factories they were using met national and international standards for safety. Almost a year later and they are failing them again – refusing to contribute what is needed to help these families to start rebuilding their lives”.

She adds: “For the first time ever we have a system in place for making sure payments get directly to those families that deserve them. Benetton has no excuse for not paying in and can easily afford a USD 5 million contribution to the fund. Any less would be an insult to all those who were killed and injured.’

“There is no time to wait – we have one month to find $40 million. We urge Benetton to make this contribution immediately and to confirm publicly that it has done so.”
to read.
Site

* One month before anniversary of Rana Plaza collapse: compensation at last:

Today, one month before the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, the victims of the tragedy and their families can finally start applying for compensation

At least 1138 workers were killed and over a thousand were injured when the Rana Plaza building, which housed 5 garment factories collapsed.

Investigations into the cause of the collapse showed the building was illegally constructed and that workers had been forced back into the building despite cracks appearing in the walls the previous day. Now, 11 months on, all the families affected will finally be able to receive payments desperately needed in order to move forward with their lives.

All beneficiaries will be invited to submit a claim, with the aim to process and deliver all payments within the next six months. All beneficiaries will receive a minimum payment of 50,000 BDT by 24th April (the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy) as an advance payment towards their total claim. Those workers whose full claims can be fully processed by April 24 th will also receive their first full instalment, which will represent 20% of the total claim.

The claims will be calculated and delivered under one single approach. There will compensation based on ILO conventions 121 to all eligible victims or their families based on both international standards and national Bangladesh law. The Coordination Committee recognizes and acknowledges the hard work of the ILO in facilitating recent discussions between the Coordination Committee and Primark, and approved the inclusion of Primark as the eighth brand to publicly pay into the fund.
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UNIglobalUNION

* Rana Plaza compensation begins:

The much anticipated process for the compensation of the victims of Rana Plaza tragedy began on Monday following a fresh documentation of the victims by the newly formed Rana Plaza Claims Administration.

Rana Plaza Claims Administration is operating under the auspices of the recently formed Rana Plaza Coordination Committee, which is composed of the ILO as the lead agency, and of the government, factory owners, trade unions, buyers, retailers, national and international non-government organisations.
The collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24 last year turned out to be the biggest disaster in the readymade garment (RMG) sector of the country, killing 1135 workers, according to the latest official estimate.

The Administration, headed by former UN official Moitaba Kazazi as the executive commissioner, is expected to complete the claims processing and the payment within the next six months.
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UNB FE bd

* Fresh ultimatum to ensure compensation for victims:

Rana Plaza collapse anniversary Apr 24

The apparel leaders Monday gave fresh ultimatum to the government to ensure compensation for the Rana Plaza victims before the first anniversary of the world’s worst industrial tragedy.

They made the announcement at a protest programme held in front of the debris site at Savar on the outskirts of the capital. Bangladesh Garments Sramik Sanghati (BGSS) Monday organised the demonstration to realise their demands.

The protestors also strongly demanded declaration of April 24 as the ‘Labour Safety Day’ making it general holiday for the apparel makers. Among others, BGSS convener Taslima Akhtar, labour leader Firuz Ahmed and Dipok Roy addressed the rally.

BGSS convener Taslima Akhtar said that the survivors of the tragedy and the deceased’s families are yet to get the promised compensations except some emergency financial grants for medical treatment.
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20140325

* Families of Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashions victims continue to call for compensation:

20140325 DAILYSTAR rana-plaza-victims
Relatives of Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashions victims form a human chain to demand immediate payment of compensation, in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka yesterday. Photo: Star

Factory owners and apparel buyers continue to ignore the call for compensation despite repeated demonstrations by families of dead and injured workers of Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashions.

About 200 children and relatives of the deceased and injured workers formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka yesterday, demanding immediate payment of compensation.
“We had a television set but it was sold to meet the family needs after the death of my father,” said Foara Akhter, who lost her father in the Rana Plaza building collapse in April last year.
Foara, who reads in class IV, said her family got nothing but Tk 45,000, and that too in phases, from a buyer.
Most of the money was spent on her grandfather’s treatment, said the 10-year-old girl. She was holding a photo of her father whose dead body was not found.
A couple of yards away was an eight-year-old boy, Shuvo Islam Bijoy, holding the photos of his parents both of whom worked on the fourth floor of the Rana Plaza building.
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daily star bd

* Primark to pay Tk 50,000 to each NWB workers Mar 28:

The coordination committee started Monday the listing of compensation claims, paving the way for providing such benefits to the victims and their families of Rana Plaza building collapse

Earlier, the multi-stakeholders’ coordination committee, which was formed  with international and Bangladeshi representatives from government, industry and the trade unions to deal with the compensation issues, is assigned to complete the payment of compensation under a Trust Fund.

“We just listed Monday 18 claims from the victims and their families,” Roy Ramesh Chandra, secretary general of the IndustriAll Bangladesh Council told the FE.

About 50 claims would be processed daily while the number of workers including injured, dead and missing is 3400, he said adding that on March 28, the Primark will pay Tk 50,000 to each of the New Wave Bottoms (NWB) workers from where it sourced apparel products.

The rest will get the same amount on April 15, he added.
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FE bd

* Sohel Rana bail protested:

They also demanded ‘April 24′ to be declared Mourning Day for RMG workers

Several hundred garment workers yesterday demanded the cancellation of Sunday’s High Court bail, awarded to Sohel Rana, owner of Rana Plaza, the building that collapsed on April 24 last year in Savar killing at least 1,100 people and injuring many more.

Sources said, a few hundred apparel workers who survived the collapse gathered in front of the debris of Rana Plaza in the morning, while more workers from nearby garment factories joined them to express solidarity with the demand.

During the programme, the workers identified Rana as chiefly responsible for the collapse and demanded capital punishment, through a murder case, be handed down to him for the offence.

They also demanded “April 24” to be declared Mourning Day for RMG workers.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

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* TELL CHILDREN’S PLACE TO PAY UP NOW:

 “I’m outraged that The Children’s Place still has not paid compensation to the families of the 1,138 workers who were killed and the 2,500 who were injured in the Rana Plaza building collapse last year.

It is time for The Children’s Place to Pay Up and make an $8 million contribution to the Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund!”

On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed, making it the deadliest disaster ever in the history of the global garment industry.
The Children’s Place was one of the main brands being made at Rana Plaza and the company’s clothing was found amid the rubble.
Yet, nearly a year later, The Children’s Place has failed to pay a single penny of compensation to the victims of this tragedy.

Please show your support for the victims of this tragedy by signing and circulating this petition asking The Children’s Place to pay compensation. Join us in calling for corporate accountability in the global garment industry!
read more & please sign here.
The-Orphan's-Place

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20140327

* State to challenge Rana Plaza owner’s bail:

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam confirmed it

The state has decided to challenge the High court order that granted bail to Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana for six months in a case lodged by Rajuk for constructing the building flouting building construction laws.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told the Dhaka Tribune that they would move the Appellate Division against the bail after the vacation that ends on March 31.

Md Selim, the deputy attorney general concerned, said they High Court judges had not yet signed the bail order that came on March 23 “considering facts of the case.”

Had Sohel Rana complied with the law, the disaster would not have taken place. “Alongside, the offence was non-bailable as per the Building Construction Act, 1952. These are the two major grounds to question the bail,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

* Brac USA raises $5m fund for RMG workers:

The money has been raised for newly launched Bangladesh Humanitarian Fund

Brac USA, the North American affiliate of Brac, has announced a multi-year fundraising initiative to ensure that progress continues on humanitarian aid and support for workers in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment industry.

The antipoverty organization founded in 1972, has issued a press release in this regard on Thursday.

According to the press release, the US chapter of the non-government organisation (NGO) has already raised more than $5, 000, 000m for rehabilitation of garment workers, victim support, and awareness of workplace safety.

The press note read: “BRAC USA’s new Bangladesh Humanitarian Fund will be directed to three specific program areas: support for the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund; continued support for BRAC’s work to provide counseling and rehabilitation to garment workers; and a reserve that can be used to support a “social safety net” for workers impacted by other tragedies such as the Tazreen factory fire in 2012.”
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DHAKATRIBUNE daily star bd

* BRAC USA announces renewed push for Bangladesh garment workers:

$5 million raised for newly launched Bangladesh Humanitarian Fund for rehabilitation of garment workers, victim support, and awareness of workplace safety

As the one-year anniversary of the Bangladesh Rana Plaza building collapse approaches, BRAC USA, the North American affiliate of BRAC, announced today a multi-year fundraising initiative to ensure that progress continues on humanitarian aid and support for workers in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment industry. An antipoverty organization founded in 1972, BRAC (formerly Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) is a global leader in providing opportunity for the world’s poor.

BRAC USA’s new Bangladesh Humanitarian Fund will be directed to three specific program areas: support for the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund; continued support for BRAC’s work to provide counseling and rehabilitation to garment workers; and a reserve that can be used to support a “social safety net” for workers impacted by other tragedies such as the Tazreen factory fire in 2012.

“Bangladesh has seen significant gains in living standards, halving poverty rates in the last 20 years, thanks largely to women’s empowerment. The garment industry has played a tremendous role in this,” says Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC. “But these gains will mean little if we allow tragedies like Rana Plaza to continue. The words ‘Made in Bangladesh’ should be a mark of pride, not shame.”
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* DNA tests identify 10 more Rana Plaza victims:

he National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory has identified ten more Rana Plaza victims who were buried without identification, officials said.

With the latest detection, the number of victims identified through DNA test rose to 210, causing a matter of little hope for the relatives who are yet to find out their beloved ones following the country’s worst ever industrial disaster.

The DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) test came to spotlight few weeks after the multi-storied building collapse when the authorities concerned were not in a position to identify the trapped bodies as those were too decomposed.

They said the forensic lab of the Dhaka Medical College (DMC) has finished all necessary works on the samples collected from ten undetected victims and started preparing a complete report of the DNA profiling tests.
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FE bd

* Can Western Corporations Be Held Accountable for Deaths in Factories Halfway Around the World? :

Last April, the Rana Plaza factory compound in Bangladesh collapsed, leaving more than 1,100 workers dead amid a massive pile of rubble. The victims and their families are still waiting for any kind of compensation, and garment workers around the world face an even longer, more uncertain wait for economic justice.

The approaching anniversary of one of the global garment industry’s worst disasters coincides roughly with another somber milestone: the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, the ferocious factory blaze that cast scores of charred bodies onto the streets of Manhattan in 1911. The two disasters have a grim resonance: both were the result of anemic regulatory systems and labor oppression—particularly the degradation of young women garment workers. Both spurred political momentum for major labor reforms. But the lapse of a century between the two events reveals how injustice persists in the industry, though production has migrated to the other side of the world.

Still, Rana Plaza helped shift the political ground in the Global South’s garment sector. Multinationals that had for years ignored systemic safety and labor problems in the sector have begun trying to clean up their supply chains. Since last spring, fashion-industry multinationals from Europe, Asia and North America, have signed a major new health and safety program known as the Bangladesh Accord.

The agreement, a collaboration of about 150 brands and retailers (including Adidas, Benetton, H&M and Abercrombie & Fitch), and advocacy groups like the International Labor Rights Forum and Clean Clothes Campaign, with the support of unions and the International Labour Organization, is not a comprehensive regulatory system. But it establishes a legally binding framework for independent safety monitoring, and crucially, funding for safety remediations. The plan would cover potentially more than 1,500 Bangladesh factories for five years, financed by the signatories.
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20140329

* 430 Rana Plaza victims get Primark compensation:

Some 430 victims and their families of New Wave Bottoms (NWB), one of the garment factories situated at the collapsed Rana Plaza, have received Tk 50,000 each as compensation from the trust fund.

However, compensation money was not paid to the remaining 150 beneficiaries of the NWB due to absence of proper documentations or there being more than one claimant, Secretary General of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council Roy Ramesh Chandra told the FE Friday.

Documents of the rest beneficiaries will be received on April 11 next and their payment would be made accordingly, he added.
The first batch of beneficiaries (NWB workers) received the first instalment of compensation directly from Primark.
The rest out of 3,639 workers of four other garment factories will get their payment on April 15 next.

The multi-stakeholders’ coordination committee, formed with international and Bangladeshi representations  from government, industry and trade unions including IndustriALL Global Union to deal with the compensation issues, is assigned to complete the payment under the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund.
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FE bd

* 430 receive Tk 50,000 each in first phase:

Four hundred and thirty workers and families of deceased workers of New Wave Bottoms, one of the five clothing factories housed in Rana Plaza that collapsed on April 24, 2013, on Friday received Tk 50,000 each in compensation from the Donor’s Trust Fund in the first phase.

The multi-stakeholder Rana Plaza compensation coordination committee on March decided to disburse compensation money to 581 workers of New Wave Bottoms in the first phase but 151 workers or families are yet to receive the compensation money in the absence of proper documentation.
Roy Ramesh Chandra, secretary general of the IndustriAll Bangladesh Council, said that they would receive documents of the workers April 11 and make the payment accordingly.
The first batch of beneficiaries (NWB workers) received the first instalment of compensation directly from Primark, a British clothing retailer.
(…)
The fund was set up at the  beginning of February, with an  initial target of $10 million, estimated to be the amount needed to pay the first instalments to all potential claimants.
The fund now has $8 million while Primark would give $1 million to the fund.
About $40 million is needed to pay 3,000 workers or families of workers who were killed in the building collapse.
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BD new age

* Global retailer hands compensation to 430:

A total of 430 victims of Rana Plaza collapse yesterday received Tk 50,000 each in compensation from the retailers who used to sell garment products manufactured in factories housed in the building.

UK-based clothing retailer Primark provided the money to the victims on the “loss of future earning basis” through mobile banking service bKash. However, the distribution was managed by the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, said Roy Ramesh, general secretary of the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council.
The compensations for the dead workers were sent to their families.
Primark will disburse a total of $9 million gradually to 580 people who used to work in New Wave Bottoms Limited, a garment factory on the second floor of the Rana Plaza that collapsed on April 24 last year, killing 1,138 people.
And on the first day of the first phase, 580 victims were supposed to be paid, but 150 of them could not produce necessary documents to receive the money. They have been asked to come to Savar Cantonment School on April 11 with valid documents to receive their part of the compensation, Ramesh said.
Primark will also contribute $1 million to the trust fund for all the victims of the tragedy. It has already donated $2 million to the victims earlier.
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* Call for compensating Rana Plaza’s missing workers:

Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati (BGSS) yesterday urged the government to declare dead the 183 missing workers from the Rana Plaza collapse, whose bodies could not be identified even after two stages of DNA sampling.

“Their families can then become eligible for compensation,” Taslima Akhter, convener of BGSS, said at a press conference.
The families of missing workers have received very little compensation, as the authorities have only compensated those whose bodies were found or identified in the DNA sampling, she said.
The actual number of missing workers, however, could be more than 183 as it was not possible for BGSS to form a more comprehensive list with its limited resources, she added.
to read.
daily star bd

* Rana Plaza missing workers’ list published:

Bangladesh Garments Sramik Sanghati on Saturday published a list of 183 missing workers, who went missing following Rana Plaza collapse, and demanded that the government should give compensation immediately announcing the missing workers dead.

The activists of the apparel workers’ organisation, released the list at a press conference at Nirmal Sen Auditorium on Topkhana Road in the city.
Coordinator of the organisation Taslima Akhter announced demonstration in front of the debris of Rana Plaza at Savar on April 24 marking the first anniversary of the building collapse to press home their seven-point demands.

The demands include announcement of April 24 as workers safety and mourning day, publication of a full list of the workers killed, wounded or missing, identification of the bones of the workers found later and the graves according to the DNA reports, award of adequate compensation, cancellation of the bail of building owner Sohel Rana and exemplary punishment for the people responsible for the building collapse.
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BD new age

The labour body made seven demands while revealing the list at a press conference at Dhaka’s Topkhana Road.
The army, which led the rescue operation in the wake of one of the most devastating man-made disasters, could not account for 261 people who were employed at the building’s various garment factories.
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bdnews24 FE bd

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* Rana Plaza survivor begins European tour:

Shila Begum, who spent a whole day trapped under the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building is bringing her story to consumers and brands in Europe in order to urge brands to pay up.

Shila Begum has never left Bangladesh before, and yet today she has flown from the Netherlands to Italy as part of a European speaker tour where she will be sharing her story with consumers, campaigners, trade unions and clothing brands in the hope that before April 24th – the one year anniversary of the collapse of Rana Plaza – brands will pay up into the Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund.

She is making this brave trip along with Secretary General of the National Garment Workers Federation Safia Parvin and Shahidul Islam Shahid as part of the Pay Up campaign being run by Clean Clothes Campaign and our partners across the globe.

With just three weeks until the annversary of the devastating collapse major brands including Benetton, Auchan and Adler Modermarkte are still to commit any funds to the Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund which needs US$40million in order to ensure all the families of the 1,138 who died and the thousands of suvivors like Shila receive the compensation they need.
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20140401

* SC stays Sohel Rana’s HC bail:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the bail granted by the High Court to Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana in a case filed by Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) under the Building Construction Act.

Supreme Court’s Appellate Division Chamber Judge Justice Hasan Foez Siddique passed the order following an appeal filed by the state.
On March 23, the HC vacation bench comprising Justice M Rezaul Hasan and Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarker granted the Jubo League leader a six-month bail in the Rajuk case.
However, it had dismissed his bail pleas in the murder case filed over the Rana Plaza collapse that killed over 1,100 people last year.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more.
UNB daily star bd BD new age BSS   FE bd     DHAKATRIBUNE
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* Labour bodies criticise govt for failing to publish authentic list of missing RMG workers:

The lists of unidentified Rana Plaza victims published by the government and labour organisation contradict each other.

Labour organisations alleged that the authorities concerned have failed to publish an authentic list of the missing apparel workers even nearly a year after the factory building collapse, creating an uncertainty over getting the compensation.

An official at the Ministry of Labour and Employment said of the total 1,135 dead bodies, 844 were handed over to their relatives and 291 unidentified bodies were buried in Jurain graveyard and the process of DNA test of those unidentified bodies is going on.

The official seeking anonymity said of the total unidentified ill-fated apparel makers, the authorities identified around 210 bodies and still 81 victims remain unnamed.

However, the data contradicts the information available with the National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory under the Dhaka Medical College (DMC) that is working to identify unnamed victims who were buried without identification.
read more.
FE bd

* IBC demands compensation for Rana Plaza victims, families:

IndustriAll Bangladesh Council (IBC) demanded on Tuesday compensation for victims and families of Rana Plaza tragedy based on the magnitude of sufferings and loss of probable earnings.

The IBC also announced month- long programmes including workers’ gathering, human chain, multi-stakeholders’ discussion, meetings and seminars ahead of the first anniversary of the country’s deadliest industrial disaster at Rana Plaza that killed at least 1,137 workers mainly to exert pressure on buyers to join the compensation fund .

Roy Ramesh Chandra, secretary general of IBC made the compensation demand while reading out the programmes at a press conference held at the Jatiya Press Club in the city. Chairman of the organisation Nazrul Islam Khan, was also present during the briefing.

“The workers and victims’ families are undergoing an untold suffering but they are yet to be compensated,” he said adding most of the brands that sourced from the Rana Plaza factories are reluctant to join the compensation fund.
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FE bd

* Industriall urges brands to provide compensation before anniversary:

IndustriALL Bangladesh Council on Tuesday urged the global buyers and brands, who used to source products from the garment factories located in the collapsed Rana Plaza, to contribute significant amount of money to the Rana Plaza compensation trust fund before the first anniversary of the worst industrial disaster.

IndustriALL, a global federation of labour unions, demanded compensation for the families of the Rana Plaza victims as per the Employment Injury Benefits Convention of the International Labour Organisation and they announced a month-long programme to press home their demand at a press conference at National Press Club in the city.
As per the standard of ILO, the organisation estimated compensation on an average Tk 57.60 lakh for each deceased worker (considering the loss of future earning years and pain and sufferings).
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BD new age

* IndustriALL suggests Tk 57 lakh for each worker:

IndustriALL, a global federation of unions, yesterday recommended an average of Tk 57 lakh as compensation for each of the families of the workers who died in the Rana Plaza building collapse.

The compensation was based on the loss of future earnings, and in line with a convention of International Labour Organisation, said IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, the local chapter of the IndustriALL Global Union that represents 50 million workers in 140 countries.
Nazrul Islam Khan, chairman of IndustriALL Bangladesh, said: “Almost one year has passed since the disaster, but the victims and their families have not received any compensation.”

“There are many victims and families who have received nothing. They are leading a miserable life,” he told reporters at the National Press Club in the city.
The briefing came three weeks before the first anniversary of the deadliest industrial disaster in history, which took lives of more than 1,130 people, mostly workers, on April 24 last year.
read more. & read more.
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20140403

* Time is ticking:

Brands that were in Rana Plaza but have yet to pay up include:
Benetton;  Auchan,  Adler Modermarkt,  Matalan and Texman. 
You can see the full list here.

With just three weeks until the first anniversary of the collapse of Rana Plaza it is vital that we all call on brands to pay up – the survivors and families of victims have waited long enough.
Thank you for your continued support.
In solidarity,
Site

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20140405

* List of 146 missing workers handed over to minister:

Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati on Thursday handed over a list of 146 missing Rana Plaza workers to the state minister for labour Md Mujibul Haque at the ministry and demanded that April 24 should be declared as ‘workers safety and mourning day’.

The organisation published the list on March 29 and demanded that the government should pay compensations immediately declaring the missing workers dead.
The eight-member team led by Taslima Akhter, coordinator of the apparel workers’ organisation, placed their seven-point demand including publication of a full list of the workers killed, wounded or missing, identifying the remains of the workers found later and the graves according to the DNA reports, giving adequate compensation, cancellation of the bail of the building owner Sohel Rana and exemplary punishment for the people responsible for the building collapse.
Garment Sramik Sanghati member-secretary Julhasnain Babu, central leaders Harunur Rashid Mahmud and Dipak Roy, among others, attended the programme.
read more.
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20140409

* 7 more bodies identified:

Seven more bodies of Rana Plaza victims have been identified by the National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory (NFDPL) of Dhaka Medical College.

NFDPL chief Prof Sharif Akhtaruzzaman told The Daily Star last night that they had submitted the DNA results to the government authority on Monday.
So far 207 out of the 322 unidentified bodies, from which DNA samples were collected, had been identified.
On April 24 last year, nine-storey Rana Plaza that housed five garment factories collapsed, trapping thousands.
According to government estimate, 1,134 people were killed and 2,515 injured people were rescued from the death trap.
The bodies which were beyond recognition were identified in three phases through DNA tests–initially 157, then 43, and now 7.
to read. & read more.
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20140410

* More funds sought for Rana Plaza victims:

Only a third of its target of $40m is raised till date

Campaigners demanded the Western brands to pay into a compensation fund for victims of Rana Plaza collapse.

Global trade unions IndustriALL and UNI and labour rights network Clean Clothes Campaign in a joint statement said a fund for victims of Rana Plaza had raised only a third of its target of $40m to date, reports Reuters.
The garment factory collapse killed more than 1,100 people and injured over 2,000 people a year ago.

They said only half of the 29 brands that sourced goods from factories in the Rana Plaza complex have contributed to the fund run by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and want the rest to pay by the first anniversary of the April 24 disaster.

“The workers who survived this catastrophe and the families of those who did not are in desperate need. The last year has seen medical expenses, lack of income and the horrors of that day relived,” said Jyrki Raina of IndustriALL.

Some of the brands supplied from the Rana Plaza complex say they will not contribute as their production was outsourced to the factory without their knowledge, or ended some time ago, while others prefer to pursue their own compensation plans.

Ineke Zeldenrust of Clean Clothes Campaign said the 29 brands have combined profits of more than $22bn a year.
“They are being asked to contribute less than 0.2% of these profits to go some way towards compensating the people their profits are built on,” she said.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* CLOTHING BRANDS FAIL RANA PLAZA SURVIVORS :

Two weeks before the first anniversary of the devastating building collapse, clothing brands contributions to Donor Trust Fund remain shockingly low.

As the first anniversary of the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza approaches global unions IndustriALL and UNI and leading labour rights network Clean Clothes Campaign today demand all brands associated with Rana Plaza pay up and ensure the survivors and victims families receive the much needed support before the first anniversary on April 24.

The Donor Trust Fund, which provides a central coordinated approach to collecting claims and distributing the money, needs US$ 40 million in contributions to ensure that the 1,138 victims families and over 2,000 survivors receive much needed payments for loss of income and medical expenses.

To date just half the companies who have been connected to a factory in the building have made commitments, and the fund has just one third of the funds required.

 “Currently 15 brands, including Benetton, Matalan, Adler Modemarkte and Auchan, have failed to even make an initial contribution to the Donor Trust Fund,” says Phillip Jennings of UNI Global Union, “we call on all of them to immediately make a significant donation to the Donor Trust Fund – the only inclusive, transparent and ILO-recognised compensation programme for Rana Plaza victims.”

Not all of the brands who have made donations have publicly stated how much they have contributed, however those that have have typically donated between US$500,000 and US$1 million.

Ineke Zeldenrust, of Clean Clothes Campaign says “The 29 brands that sourced from factories within Rana Plaza either at the time of the collapse or in the recent past have combined profits of well in excess of US$22 billion a year, they are being asked to contribute less than 0.2% of these profits to go some way towards compensating the people their profits are built on – the Donor Trust Fund has been open for two months now and it is still a long way off the US$40 million that is required.
The Arrangement clearly has the necessary buy-in: the current donor list includes some of world’s biggest brand names, from both Europe and the US, but they are coming in with frankly shockingly low levels given what they can afford. .

It is clear that with two weeks to go and over two thirds of the money still needed even those brands who have made contributions need to make further donations, to bring their contributions up to a more significant level.
read more. & read more.
Site Home

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20140411

* More funds sought for BD factory collapse victims:

Global trade unions IndustriALL and UNI and labour rights network Clean Clothes Campaign launched a new effort on Thursday to push Western brands to pay into a compensation fund for victims of the Rana Plaza collapse that killed more than 1,100 people.

In a joint statement they said that a fund set up for the over 2,000 people injured and the families of the dead had raised only a third of its target of $40 million so far.

Only half of the 29 brands that sourced goods from factories in the Rana Plaza complex contributed to the fund run by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Jyrki Raina of IndustriALL said “The workers who survived this catastrophe and the families of those who did not are in desperate need. The last year has seen medical expenses, lack of income and the horrors of that day relived.”

Some of the brands supplied from the Rana Plaza complex say they will not contribute as their production was outsourced to the factory without their knowledge, or ended some time ago, while others prefer to pursue their own compensation plans.

Ineke Zeldenrust of Clean Clothes Campaign said the 29 brands have combined profits of more than $22 billion a year.
read more. & read more.
BANGLA NEWS24 NEWAGEnew

* Rana Plaza victims to get compensation by April 24:

Rana Plaza victims look set to finally receive their due compensation after ILO Country Director Srinivasa Reddy yesterday assured the hand-out would begin before the first anniversary of the disaster.

A total of 3,080 victims will be compensated, with each victim receiving Tk 50,000 from the trust fund created by international retailers, he said after a meeting with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, diplomats and researchers.
Reddy, however, did not give a specific date on which the compensation would be handed out.
The 580 victims who have already received compensation from the British retailer Primark, however, have been excluded.
The compensation figure has been arrived at following the International Labour Organisation’s convention 121, widely employed worldwide to pay off victims of industrial accidents.
Asked if the hand-outs made from the Prime Minister’s Fund would be part of the compensation, Reddy said the trust fund’s three commissioners would decide if the two would be merged or not.
read more.
daily star bd

* ILO aid for Rana Plaza victims soon:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) will start providing financial assistance to Rana Plaza victims from the workers’ welfare fund from this month.Srinivas Reddy, Director at the ILO office in Dhaka, made the announcement at a BGMEA press briefing on “Post Rana Plaza Initiatives and Current Scenario of the RMG Sector” at Hotel Westin on Thursday.
He said British clothing retailer Primark paid out compensation after the building collapsed last year and the affected workers have already received some of that money. “The rest will be given within April 24,” said Reddy, according to a news agency.
to read.
FE bd

* A Year Later, Bangladesh Factory-Collapse Victims Still Wait for Compensation:

In the year since the Rana Plaza factory complex tumbled down outside Dhaka, the Bangladesh government has raised the minimum wage and changed the labor law to make it easier for workers to form unions.

International retailers have come together to form two separate safety pacts  aimed at improving safety in the country’s garment factories.

But little has changed for the families of the 1,138 men and women who died when Rana Plaza collapsed or for the more than 2000 survivors, at least half of whom are struggling with long-term injuries compounded by loss of income and rising medical costs.

With the first anniversary of one of the world’s worst industrial accidents just two weeks away, Rana Plaza workers and victims’ families say they’re still waiting for compensation. Although a mechanism for delivering compensation was established through negotiations between the International Labor Organization, labor groups and clothing companies, the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund is facing a potentially serious shortfall.

Retailers that were sourcing apparel from Rana Plaza have so far contributed $15 million, far short of the fund’s $40 million target.  Jyrki Raina, of the IndustriALL Global Union, said: “The workers who survived this catastrophe and the families of those who did not are in desperate need. The brands can show that they can be part of the solution – but only if they pay up.”
read more.
WSJ

* ‘Seven-member body to oversee disbursement of $40m ILO fund to Rana Plaza victims’:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) along with other industry people have formed a seven- member committee to oversee disbursement of $40m to the Rana Plaza victims.

“As a signatory to the ILO fund, we’ve formed a seven- member committee so that workers’ welfare fund is disbursed in a transparent manner,” Md Shahidullah Azim, Vice-President of BGMEA, told BSS today.

Azim, who was entrusted with the responsibility to look into fund disbursement from the association part, said the BGMEA will dedicate person to monitor whether genuine Rana Plaza victims are getting the financial support.

The ILO has a requirement of 40 million US dollars for the Workers\’ Welfare Fund and $16m has so far been mobilized.
(….)
A total of 3,080 victims will be compensated, with each victim receiving Tk 50,000 from the trust fund created by the international retailers, he said at a function in the city yesterday (Thursday).

IndustriALL, a global union federation; UNI, a global trade union; and Clean Clothes Campaign, a leading rights network for the garment sector, already demanded that the 29 brands which sourced from factories housed at Rana Plaza must pay towards the trust fund before April 24.
read more. & read more.
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20140412

* Compensations for all victims demanded:

20140412 DAILYSTAR rana-plaza-compansation
United Federation of Garment Workers forms a human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club in the capital yesterday demanding adequate compensations for all the victims of Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashions fire. Photo: Star

Leaders of United Federation of Garments Workers yesterday demanded that the government ensure compensations for all victims of Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashions fire.

At a human chain formed in front of Jatiya Press Club in the capital, they also demanded the safety of garment workers at their workplaces.
UFGW President Roy Ramesh Chandra urged the government to form a welfare fund to provide financial assistance to the workers on emergency basis.
The coming April 24 will be the first anniversary of Rana Plaza tragedy that killed at least 1,138 workers and injured several hundreds.
Meanwhile, a citizen group staged a rally before Bangladesh National Museum demanding arrest of all the responsible persons in Spectrum Sweater Factory Building collapse at Savar on April 11, 2005 and Tazreen fire on November 24, 2012 at Ashulia.
read more.
daily star bd

* Proper compensation for Rana Plaza victims demanded:

20140412 NEWAGE
The United Federation of Garments on Friday brings out a procession in front of the National Press Club demanding compensation for Tazreen Fashions and Rana Plaza collapse victims in accordance with the ILO convention. — New Age photo

United Federation of Garments Workers and Samajtantrik Sramik Front on Friday demanded appropriate compensation for the affected workers in the collapse of Rana Plaza and fire at Tazreen Fashion as per the International Labour Organisation convention.

The federation made the demand at a human chain and the front at a rally in front of the National Press Club.
Labour leaders, addressing the rally of Samajtantrik Sramik Front, a labour organisation, called on the government to declare April 24 national mourning day commemorating the apparel workers killed in Rana Plaza collapse.

Trade Union Centre general secretary Wajed-ul Islam Khan demanded exemplary punishments for the people responsible for the Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashion fire and appropriate compensations for the workers affected in the incidents.

Jatiya Sramik Jote president Mesbahuddin Ahmed demanded implementation of announced minimum wage of Tk.5,300 for the apparel workers in every apparel factory.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Victims want to know account of foreign aid:

They said the government had failed to prepare a complete list of deceased, injured and missing workers in the last one year

Several hundred affected workers and the families of victims of the garment factories housed in collapsed Rana Plaza have demanded proper compensation for rehabilitation and urged the government to disclose account of the foreign aid which came in this regard. 

At a human chain formed yesterday morning at the collapse site in Savar, they also sought information about the relatives who have been missing since the devastating incident that took place on April 24 last year.
(…)
Expressing concern about the recovery of skulls and bones at the site in the recent months, they also called for further search operation. The speakers said over 300 workers were still missing.

In the first phase report on examinations last November, the DNA lab identified 157 victims – 116 women and 41 men; while the second phase report in February this year identified 43 more victims – 33 women and 10 men. As many as 541 families provided DNA samples for cross-matching with the 322 unidentified victims, whose bone and teeth were collected as DNA samples.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* As the dreaded day appears, Rana Plaza Aftermath:

24 April 2014 will see exactly one year since the dreaded Rana Plaza building collapse which saw more than a thousand dead and several thousands injured among whom hundreds were crippled for life.

Since the tragedy came to pass there have been a global uproar for justice being served to those responsible and negligent for this catastrophic industrial disaster, stronger fire and building safety measures for garment factories, and urgent dissemination of compensation to the wrecked victims and their destitute families for their irreparable losses that Rana Plaza Tragedy forced upon them.

Justice Awaits
Mr. Sohel Rana, the owner of the 9-storied building named Rana Plaza which collapsed on 24 April 2013, was quickly brought behind bars after the collapse. Savar municipality authorities and police respectively filed two cases with Savar Model Police Station on April 24 and 25 last year for constructing the building without a Rajuk-approved plan and in violation of the rules and provisions of the Bangladesh National Building Code, and for negligence of the owners of the building and its garments factories which caused death of the people. A verdict is yet to be given and the criminals keep trying to get bails.
(…)

Safe and Sustainable Work-places?
The demand for measures strengthening fire and building safety, humane working conditions along with freedom to associate and form trade unions for Bangladeshi Garment factories have been voiced since many years prior to Rana Plaza. As factory disasters kept occurring and recurring with a cold consistency in Bangladesh, the voices kept gaining strength until the dreaded day of the Rana Plaza Tragedy came upon us. Rana Plaza is a massive shake to those who have argued against the reality of crumbling sweatshops thriving in our country under the blessing of blood sucking business ideals which bone-dry every moral space for ethical conduct of business.
(…)

Rights inside the Factory
The Rana Plaza Tragedy did not only uncover the catastrophic condition of factory buildings and their lack of the most obvious safety measures or any adherence to proper building laws, but it also unraveled the sad scenario of working conditions inside these factories. Pregnant women gave birth inside the rubbles displaying a vivid example of lack of maternity leaves, while child workers as young as 11 were amputated to be taken out of the carnage. Workers who came out alive gave vivid descriptions of being punished for the smallest mistakes and working in cramped factory floors. Workers were pushed inside the unsafe factory with the help of extra legal forces, threatened of being fired or losing an entire month’s salary.
(,,,)

The GSP Update
The effectiveness of holding back the GSP has been phenomenal in Bangladesh and the country saw considerable progress in the administrations attitude towards workplace safety and worker rights in Bangladesh in an effort to save its western market and regain the lost GSP so that to prevent losing the more lucrative European GSP as a domino effect.
(…)

Immediate Responsibility – The Rana Plaza Compensation
The most urgent of all tasks that need to be done after Rana Plaza is to pay its victims a compensation, however inadequate for their losses, but enough to sustain their lives and prevent a greater moral and psychological damage to the confidence of garment workers and their families in Bangladesh. The importance of a proper compensation is indispensable, apart from the greater humanitarian responsibility of brands for its workers at the bottom of the supply chain.
(…)

What Next?
The best highlight during the initial relief for the Rana Plaza victims was the bKash cash transfer method followed by Primark. A method which was very timely and appropriate considering the pain, hassle and harassment which was prevented for the workers which was previously suffered by workers of the Tazreen Tragedy.

A compensation process of this size would greatly benefit for efficient use of available resources. It will be important to manage such a large scale compensation plan in a transparent and organized manner so that none of the suffering victims are left behind. Thus for the implementation of the compensation scheme, it is important that it remains transparent and above questions.
read more.

* Global retailers asked to compensate Rana Plaza victims before April 24:

Global labour rights groups demanded all brands associated with Rana Plaza pay up and ensure the survivors and victims families receive the much needed
support before the first anniversary of the tragic building collapse on April 24.

IndustriALL and UNI Global Union and leading labour rights network Clean Clothes Campaign made the demand two weeks before the first anniversary of the devastating building collapse as the clothing brands contributions to Donor Trust Fund remain shockingly low.

The Donor Trust Fund, which provides a central coordinated approach to collecting claims and distributing the money, needs US$ 40 million in contributions to ensure that the 1,138 victims families and over 2,000 survivors receive much needed payments for loss of income and medical expenses.

To date just half the companies who have been connected to a factory in the building have made commitments, and the fund has just one third of the funds required.

“Currently 15 brands, including Benetton, Matalan, Adler Modemarkte and Auchan, have failed to even make an initial contribution to the Donor Trust Fund,” says Phillip Jennings of UNI Global Union, “we call on all of them to immediately make a
significant donation to the Donor Trust Fund – the only inclusive, transparent and ILO-recognised compensation programme for Rana Plaza victims.”

Not all of the brands who have made donations have publicly stated how much they have contributed, however those that have typically donated between US$500,000 and US$1 million.
read more. & read more.
BSS INDEPENDENT

* ‘Compensate Rana Plaza victims by Apr 24′:

20140412 FE rmg workers

A garments workers’ association has demanded that the compensations for the dead and the injured workers of Rana Plaza be paid by April 24.

The National Garments Workers Federation formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club on Saturday to voice the demand.
The families of the deceased, the injured and those still unaccounted for from the Rana Plaza collapse and the Tazreen Fashion fire were present there.
Federation President Amirul Haque Amin said foreign buyers had pledged only Tk 17 million against the Tk 40 million in compensations estimated by the Rana Plaza Compensation Arrangement Coordinating Committee formed under ILO supervision. “This is not only frustrating, it’s humiliating.
The victims are not begging for alms, they are making legitimate claims,” he said, according to a news agency.
to read.
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20140414

* Families of 53 Rana Plaza victims to receive PM fund assistance tomorrow:

The assistance will be given from prime minister’s relief fund

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will provide financial assistance to the family members of 53 Rana Plaza victims recently identified through DNA tests.

The assistance will be given from prime minister’s relief fund, said an official of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
He could not say about the amounts to be given. When contacted, the labour ministry officials said they were also unaware about the details of the assistance.

They said prime minister would decide regarding the matter.
So far, an amount of Tk23 crore has been disbursed to 813 workers from the fund.
Of them, families of 36 victims received Tk10-15 lakh each and others got Tk1-2 lakh each.

A source at the BGMEA said banks, insurance companies, individuals and garment owners have donated about Tk127 crore so far to the fund.
Of them, Bangladesh Association of Banks provided Tk80 crore and BGMEA gave Tk2 crore.
read more.
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20140415

* ‘The Deadly Cost of Fashion’:

Last April 24, Ismail Ferdous, my co-director on this Op-Doc video, photographed the deadliest disaster in garment industry history: the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 workers and injured around 2,500.

His images capture not only the raw destruction and shattered lives, but also the citizen volunteers who worked tirelessly to help rescue victims in the rubble. In the video, he speaks candidly about the trauma of photographing the collapse, where the smell of dead bodies filled the air.

A year later, we explore the uncomfortable question: How does the Rana Plaza collapse relate to the lives of Americans? Much more than you might think. Companies and brands associated with factories in Rana Plaza include Joe Fresh, Mango, Walmart, J.C. Penney and The Children’s Place (though it’s unclear whether all of these had active manufacturing there at the time of the collapse). Some of the clothing labels that he photographed in the rubble can also be found in Manhattan stores.
read more.
NYT

* Owner of collapsed Bangladesh factory faces murder charges:

The owner of a nine-storey building that collapsed and killed 1,135 Bangladeshi garment workers in April last year is to face murder charges, police said on Tuesday.

Sohel Rana, the owner of the Rana Plaza factory complex on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, was one of around 40 people who would be charged in connection with the disaster, lead investigator Bijoy Krishna Kar said.
‘We are planning to press murder charges against Sohel Rana and some other accused,’ Kar of Bangladesh police’s Criminal Investigation Department told AFP, adding if convicted Rana could be sentenced to death.
to read.
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20140416

* In Bangladesh, murder charges against Rana plaza owner:

Bangladesh police said on Tuesday they will press murder charges against the owner of a nine-storey building that collapsed and killed 1,135 garment workers last April, the worst industrial disaster in the country’s history.

Sohel Rana, owner of the Rana Plaza factory complex on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, was one of around 40 people who would be charged in connection with the disaster, said lead investigator Bijoy Krishna Kar.

“We are planning to press murder charges against Sohel Rana and some other accused,” Mr. Kar of the police’s Criminal Investigation Department told AFP, adding that if convicted Mr. Rana could be sentenced to death.

It was the first time police have said they would file murder charges against Mr. Rana, arrested as he tried to flee the country days after the April 24 disaster.
read more. & read more.
THEHINDU thenewspk

* Rana Plaza Collapse: Cheques given to families of more 53 persons killed:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday handed over cheques of financial assistance from her Relief and Welfare Fund to the families of more 53 persons killed by the deadliest Building Collapse in the history, at Savar on the outskirts of the capital, on April 24 last year.

Seventy-three cheques were handed over among the family members of the 53 persons who were killed in tragic accident and later identified through DNA test.
The Prime Minister has so far distributed Tk 22.11 crore as financial assistance in nine phases to the families of 909 victims of the Rana Plazza collapse.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
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daily star bd

* Which brands need to Pay Up!:

With just a week to go until the first anniversary of the terrible collapse of Rana Plaza just 1/3 of the money needed has been committed to the Donor Trust Fund. Clean Clothes Campaign is calling for all brands connected to Rana Plaza or Bangladesh to Pay Up! The survivors and victims’ families have suffered enough.

20140416 CCC


It is almost a year since the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza when 1,138 garment workers died and over 2,000 were injured.

The Donor Trust Fund provides a central coordinated approach to collecting claims of victims and then ensuring the money is distributed.  However to ensure all those affected receive the support they need the fund needs US$ 40 million in contributions.

To date just half the companies who have been connected to a factory in the building have made commitments, and the fund has just one third of the funds required.

See which brands have yet to make a contribution and which need to make a second installment.

The time for excuses is over – now it is time to Pay Up!
read more.
Site

* Compensation fund for Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza victims barely one-third full:

UN-backed scheme raises $15m of $40m target, despite pressure on brands to assume some financial responsibility

A UN-backed scheme to compensate victims of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory collapse is barely one-third full, despite pressure on dozens of western brands to assume some financial responsibility for one of the world’s deadliest industrial accidents of modern times.

A year after the tragedy, which killed more than 1,100 workers and injured another 1,000, the scheme backed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a UN agency, has raised only $15m (£9m), well short of the $40m (£24m) target.

Of the 28 brands linked to the Rana Plaza factory complex by campaigners, only about half have paid into the fund. They include the British retailer Bonmarché, Canada’s Loblaw and Spain’s Mango and Inditex.

But pressure is intensifying on those brands who have not paid up, such as Matalan, the Italian brand Benetton and US retailer JC Penney. All are now thought to be considering making a contribution after months of stonewalling. Matalan is being asked for £3m.
read more.
GUARDIAN

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20140417

* Compensations continue to elude Rana Plaza victims:

The Rana Plaza victims are yet to get promised compensations though nearly one year has gone by since the tragic incident, causing untold sufferings to the several hundred affected families, victims and labour leaders say.

Except a few pledges made and initiatives taken so far by the global buyers and other stakeholders, no specific announcement has been made nor any decision taken yet about the payment of the compensations, they say.

Although some financial and humanitarian supports have been extended to a number of victims and their families, most of the affected families are still in the dark about payment of their due compensations. None can say when and how the compensation money will be paid, they say.

Different labour rights groups and social organisations have long been demanding rightful compensations to the victims and their families after the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013.
(…)
Yeanur, who had joined the garment factory with her mother Anwara Begum, who had died in the building collapse, underwent surgery on her both legs and now is undergoing therapy at the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP).

“I myself didn’t get any financial support either from the government or from garment manufacturers,” she said.

Her father had received Tk 0.3 million (three lakh) from the Prime Minister’s Office and Tk 45,000 on behalf of her mother through bKash, she added.

Shapla Begum, who had been working on the third floor of the Rana Plaza, said: “I and my younger brother Solaiman Hossain worked at the same factory. I am lucky to survive. But my brother is still missing.”

“Now I am in dire straits as I have to look after my brother’s kids along with three of mine,” she said adding that how she could bring up those kids apart from hers without any help from others.

However, a good number of people still gather in front of the Rana Plaza site. Some of them gather there to know about the fate of their missing family members and some others gather there with the hope of getting financial support.
read more.
FE bd

* Rana Plaza trust fund collects $17m so far:

20140417 DAILYSTAR

Retailers and brands have deposited a total of $17 million so far with the Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund to compensate victims of the building collapse that took lives of at least 1,135 people last April.

“The retailers and brands have started depositing money with the compensation fund. We will start paying the victims before the 24th of April, the first anniversary of the building collapse,” Srinivasa Reddy, country director of International Labour Organisation, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Of the money deposited, the British brand Primark is paying $9 million to the 580 workers of New Wave Bottom Ltd, a factory that was located on the second floor of the Rana Plaza building. The payment is being made through the ILO.
read more.
daily star bd

* Compensation fund for Rana Plaza victims barely one-third full: Report:

A UN-backed scheme to compensate victims of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory collapse is barely one-third full, despite pressure on dozens of western brands to assume some financial responsibility for one of the world’s deadliest industrial accidents of modern times, reports The Guardian.

A year after the tragedy, which killed more than 1,100 workers and injured another 1,000, the scheme backed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a UN agency, has raised only $15m (£9m), well short of the $40m (£24m) target.
Of the 28 brands linked to the Rana Plaza factory complex by campaigners, only about half have paid into the fund. They include the British retailer Bonmarché, Canada’s Loblaw and Spain’s Mango and Inditex.

But pressure is intensifying on those brands who have not paid up, such as Matalan, the Italian brand Benetton and US retailer JC Penney. All are now thought to be considering making a contribution after months of stonewalling. Matalan is being asked for £3m.

Sam Maher, of the workers’ rights group Labour Behind the Label, said: ‘For Matalan and its owners, £3m is pocket money. For those families struggling to survive after losing not only family members but much-needed income it means the difference between remaining destitute or being able to rebuild their lives.’
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* RANA PLAZA, TAZREEN TRAGEDIES: Punishment demanded for those responsible:

The National Alliance for Protection of Garment Workers and Industry, a combine of garment labour rights bodies, on Wednesday demanded exemplary punishments for those responsible for the Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashion fire.

Shamima Akter Shirin, coordinator of the combine, at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity made the demand while announcing programmes to observe first anniversary of Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, where more than 1100 workers were killed.
The programmes include holding workers’ rally in front of the National Press Club on April 18, views exchange at Asad Auditorium on April 20, international seminar on workers issue at the press club on April 22, human chain in font of the press club on April 22, placing wreath at the Rana Plaza monument and holding rally of the wounded workers April 24.
to read.
NEWAGEnew

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20140418

* Global Day of Action: PAY UP! Justice for Rana Plaza victims:

Date:
Thursday, April 24, 2014 (All day)

Location:
At clothing outlets, big box retailers, malls, corporate sourcing offices, and online everywhere!

Join workers and consumers around the world in a day of action on Thursday, April 24, 2014, to stand in solidarity with garment workers in Bangladesh.

One year after the Rana Plaza building collapse killed at least 1,138 people and injured more than 2,500 in the worst garment industry catastrophe in history, concerned citizens around the world will demand that The Children’s Place, Walmart, Benetton, and other apparel brands and retailers pay full and fair compensation to the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse.

We will also call on Walmart to pay compensation to the victims of the Tazreen factory fire, which took place on November 24, 2012, and where Walmart was the largest customer. The fire killed 112 workers and was the deadliest fire in the Bangladesh garment industry. It’s time for Children’s Place and Walmart to take responsibility and to pay their fair share of compensation to the survivors and families who lost loved-ones.

It has been nearly a year since the Rana Plaza collapse and victims of this tragedy continue to suffer, struggling to cope with the trauma of the disaster and the tremendous financial burdens they now face.
Many families have had to pull their young children out of school and send them to work to keep from starving while many of the injured workers have accumulated massive debts just to pay their hospital bills.
Meanwhile, Children’s Place, which had an ongoing relationship with the largest factory in the building and whose clothing was found amid the rubble, has refused to pay the full $8 million it owes – less than half of CEO Jane Elfers’ $17 million salary and a drop in the bucket for a company whose 2013 profits exceeded $655 million.

In an effort to deflect public pressure, The Children’s Place and Walmart recently announced that they were making a small contribution to the ILO-sponsored compensation fund.
But the amount that is being contributed falls far short of what the victims are owed. The Children’s Place gave just $450,000, which amounts to less than 6% of $8 million and less than $200 per affected family.
Walmart paid in $1 million – less than $500 per family.  We are calling on Walmart to pay $16 million more to Rana Plaza victims and $5 million to the Tazreen victims.

In Europe, demonstrations are called for at Benetton stores. Benetton made $203 million in 2011 before the company went private, and yet they still haven’t paid anything to the Rana Plaza victims.

On April 24th, join us in calling on The Children’s Place, Walmart and Benetton to pay the full amount they owe to the injured workers, families, and children who were orphaned by the Rana Plaza building collapse.

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED:
read more.
ilrf

* Rana Plaza Survivors Call on Brands to Pay Up:

Produced by Rainbow Collective, Clean Clothes Campaign, and International Labor Rights Forum.
see video.
Rainbow Collective - Documentary Production

* Compensations continue to elude Rana Plaza victims:

The Rana Plaza victims are yet to get promised compensations though nearly one year has gone by since the tragic incident, causing untold sufferings to the several hundred affected families, victims and labour leaders say.

Except a few pledges made and initiatives taken so far by the global buyers and other stakeholders, no specific announcement has been made nor any decision taken yet about the payment of the compensations, they say.

Although some financial and humanitarian supports have been extended to a number of victims and their families, most of the affected families are still in the dark about payment of their due compensations. None can say when and how the compensation money will be paid, they say.

Different labour rights groups and social organisations have long been demanding rightful compensations to the victims and their families after the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013. The deadliest disaster in the RMG sector left at least 1130 workers dead and several hundred others seriously injured.
read more.
FE bd

* $15m collected for fund:

A UN-backed scheme to compensate victims of Bangladesh`s Rana Plaza factory collapse is barely one-third full, despite pressure on dozens of western brands to assume some financial responsibility for one of the world`s deadliest industrial accidents of modern times.

A year after the tragedy, which killed more than 1,100 workers and injured another 1,000, the scheme backed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a UN agency, has raised only $15m (£9m), well short of the $40m (£24m) target.

Of the 28 brands linked to the Rana Plaza factory complex by campaigners, only about half have paid into the fund. They include the British retailer Bonmarché, Canada`s Loblaw and Spain`s Mango and Inditex.

But pressure is intensifying on those brands who have not paid up, such as Matalan, the Italian brand Benetton and US retailer JC Penney. All are now thought to be considering making a contribution after months of stonewalling. Matalan is being asked for £3m.

Sam Maher, of the workers` rights group Labour Behind the Label, said: “For Matalan and its owners, £3m is pocket money. For those families struggling to survive after losing not only family members but much-needed income it means the difference between remaining destitute or being able to rebuild their lives.”
read more.
BANGLA NEWS24

* Compensating Rana Plaza victims:

As the Rana Plaza tragedy approaches its first anniversary — a grim reminder of the terrible catastrophe — on April 24, one of the issues that has emerged prominently is the compensation for the victims.

However, compensation in no way can make up for deaths and the plight of those who have become crippled for no fault of theirs.  Yet handing out a sum of money to their families or the victims themselves who suffered the worst manmade tragedy in the country’s industrial history is, at its best, an expression of empathy and a little material help.

Ever since the issue emerged months ago, there were conflicting statements from various quarters, carried out by the media, on issues such as the amount to be paid in compensation, who would be the donors, the mechanism through which to work out the compensation process etc.
No doubt, these have only added to the agony of the surviving workers and the families and dependants of the deceased. International rights organisations and trade unions were the staunchest of the campaigners who, beside raising voice for worker’s rights and workplace safety in Bangladesh garment sector, pooled a fund of $40 million to be spent as compensation to the victims of the factory collapse that killed more than 1,000 workers nearly a year ago.

Global trade unions, including IndustriALL and UNI, said in a joint statement recently that compensation should reach the victims or their families before the first anniversary of the manmade tragedy.
In their statement they said all the brands and retailers (29 in all) who sourced their goods from the garment factories located in the Rana Plaza Complex must contribute to the compensation fund, calculated at less than 0.2 per cent of their combined annual profit.
But so far, only one-third of targeted $40 million has reportedly been raised. It has furthermore been reported that 15 retailers did not even make any initial contribution to the trust fund.

Meanwhile, the Country Director of International Labour Organisation (ILO), following a meeting with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), stated that handing out the compensation money would commence before the first anniversary of the factory collapse.
A total of 3,080 victims will be compensated, with each receiving Tk 50,000 from the trust fund created by international retailers.
read more.
FE bd

* Properties of Rana confiscated:

The government confiscated all properties of Sohel Rana, owner of Rana Plaza, in connection with tragic collapse of the building in Savar killing that killed over 1,134 people.

Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Sheikh Yusuf Harun confirmed the matter while talking to journalists on Thursday afternoon.
He said, “The government confiscated 18 percent properties of Rana Plaza, 10 percent of Rana Tower and his immovable properties at Dhamrai upazila.”The matter would be disclosed through a circular, he added.
to read. & read more.
BANGLA NEWS24 NEWAGEnew

* Rana Plaza One Year Later: Living in Constant Pain:

When the multistory Rana Plaza building collapsed on April 24, 2014, in Bangladesh, Moriom Begum was trapped for two days in the room where she worked as a sewing operator.

Hunched in the dark, unable to move beneath a sewing stool and suffering from serious injuries, Moriom was surrounded by the lifeless bodies of her co-workers. As the long hours dragged by, Moriom thought, “I will never see the world again.”

Moriom, who had worked for more than three years at New Wave Style, one of five factories in the building, lost her right hand in the disaster and suffers from continuous pain in her wrist. She recently was fitted with an artificial hand, but she says “the hand is very heavy. “This hand seems like an extra burden for me.”

Like many of the garment workers in Rana Plaza the day of the collapse, Moriom and her colleagues didn’t want to enter into the factory. The day before, engineers had identified cracks so serious they said the building should be closed immediately. But many factory managers threatened workers, saying they would be fired if they did not show up for work the next day.
read more.
SOLIDARITYCENTER

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20140419

* Proper compensation for Rana Plaza victims demanded:

20140419 NEWAGE
IndustriAll Bangladesh Council on Friday forms a human chain in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka, demanding compensation for the Rana Plaza collapse victims. — New Age photo

Labour rights body Industrial Bangladesh Council on Friday demanded proper compensations for the workers affected in Rana Plaza collapse.

The organisation made the demand at a human chain formed in front of the National Press Club.
Addressing the human chain, its president Nazrul Islam Khan also demanded exemplary punishment for the owners of Rana Plaza and apparel factories housed in the multi-storey building at Savar that collapsed on April 24, 2013 leaving more than 1,100 apparel workers killed and scores injured.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* A year after Rana Plaza: What hasn’t changed since the Bangladesh factory collapse:

Jason Motlagh is a writer, photographer and filmmaker. Reporting for this essay and for “The Ghosts of Rana Plaza,” featured in the spring issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review, was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

When I met Rajina Aktar in February of last year, her eyes were still red and her memory still fuzzy from the toxic smoke that had knocked her unconscious three weeks earlier.

The 15-year-old had been sewing pockets onto winter jackets when a fire broke out at Smart Export Garments, an illegal factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Walking through the ruins, I saw what appeared to be handprints and scratch marks on the walls of the stairwell where eight workers were crushed to death as 350 people tried to push through a single locked exit.

Someone had managed to carry Aktar to safety. In the dank basement room where she lived, she told me that with four relatives to support and no education, she expected to return to the assembly line as soon as she recovered. “There is nothing else,” she said.
read more.
WAshinton post black

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20140420

* No transparency in PM’s relief fund for Rana Plaza victims:

The government has failed to show transparency in collecting and distributing money for the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse, a BNP leader said yesterday.

“There was no transparency and accountability in dealing with the Prime Minister’s relief fund. It is still unclear who received how much money from the relief fund and who contributed to the fund,” said Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury who is also an adviser to the BNP chairperson.
Chowdhury’s comment came at a dialogue –BBC Bangladesh Sanglap — to mark the first anniversary of the building collapse.
Prime Minster’s Adviser HT Imam, however, said the relief fund is handled with “full transparency”. “I will give details of the fund if anybody wants.”
The government has so far distributed Tk 22.53 crore to the victims from the relief fund, he said at the dialogue at Biam auditorium in the capital.

Nazma Akter, president of Sammilito Garment Sramik Federation, a platform of apparel workers, urged the government to provide compensation to the victims as soon as possible. “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has provided money to the victims as donation from her fund. It is not compensation,” she said.
read more.
daily star bd

* Compensate Rana Plaza victims before Apr 24: Workers:

Bangladesh Protest

Readymade garment (RMG) workers here on Sunday demanded that the victims of Rana Plaza building collapse and their families be compensated by April 24 next, the first anniversary of the tragedy.

They came up with the demand at a human chain programme organised by Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation (SGSF) in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the capital.

SGSF president Nazma Akhter said many workers fall victims to different accidents in RMG factories each year due to negligence of the government and factory owners to ensure their safety.

“The workers are treated as commodities, not as human being. The owners knowingly kill workers to make more money,” she said.
read more.
UNB

“The workers are treated as commodities, not as human being. The owners knowingly kill workers to make more money,” she said.
read more. read more. & read more.
UNB FE bd INDEPENDENT

* 74% Rana Plaza tragedy victims can’t join works:

A total of 73.7 percent workers injured in the tragic Rana Plaza building collapse could not be able to return to the workplace even after a year passed since the tragedy occurred, says a study.

ActionAid conducted the study, which was revealed at a programme at BRAC Center Inn in Mohakhali area of the city on Sunday morning.

The study says some 1,436 workers could not manage to return to their jobs. Of them, 63.74 percent workers suffer physical illness, 23.76 percent suffers bone marrow related problems and 7.54 percent workers are not getting jobs due to the factory owners’ unwillingness.

Getting no compensations, many injured workers are not getting the proper treatment and their families are likely to sit on the street losing everything, the study warned.

Workers’ leader lawmaker Shirin Akter said, “We should have taken lessons from the Spectrum collapse, if we did so, we would not face the big tragedy like Rana Plaza collapse.”

She added: “We have to help the victims those are alive or the families of those lost lives in the tragedy; government, owners’ association and the buyers will have to move forward so that they (victims) do not feel helpless.”
read more. & read more.
BANGLA NEWS24 INDEPENDENT

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20140421

* Rana Plaza tragedy survivors face financial hardship :

The majority of Rana Plaza tragedy survivors have been facing immense financial hardship, as over 73 per cent of them are yet to get back work even nearly a year after the industrial accident, according to a survey report.

ActionAid Bangladesh conducted the survey covering 1,436 survivors and 786 family members of the deceased workers ahead of completion of one year of the Rana Plaza collapse at Savar on April 24 last year.

The report, which has been shared at a dialogue with stakeholders Sunday, has strived to ascertain the socio-economic conditions of the survivors and family members of the deceased workers and also look into their current needs along with analysing the support they have received so far.

ILO-Bangladesh Country Office Director Baki Srinivasa Reddy was present as chief guest at the dialogue on Remembering the Toiling Workers of Rana Plaza at theBRAC Center Inn at Mohakhali in the city.

The survey found that even after a year of Rana Plaza tragedy, still 73.7 per cent (1058 persons) of the 1,436 respondents had not yet returned to work due to physical ailment and psychological trauma.
read more.
FE bd

* ILO deputy director general due today:

Deputy-Director General (Field Operations and Partnerships) of International Labour Organization (ILO) Gilbert Houngbo will arrive in Dhaka on Monday (today) marking the first anniversary of Rana Plaza tragedy on April 24, 2013, reports BSS.
“Houngbo did a lot of work in Dhaka after the tragedy last year. The first anniversary of the Rana Plaza victims marked his visit,” Md Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told the news agency.
read more. & read more.
INDEPENDENT BSS

* Tk 38cr distributed among families of Rana Plaza victims:

Around Tk 38 crore has so far been distributed as compensation among the family members of the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse since the tragedy occurred on April 24, 2013, reports BSS.

Of the amount, Tk 23 crore was disbursed as financial assistance under the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund while the rest Tk 14.50 crore was spent from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). “We’ve given Tk 14.50 crore as compensation to 3,195 persons of the Rana Plaza victims. ILO is looking into the entire rehabilitation for them,” Md Shahidulliah Azim, Vice-President of BGMEA, told the news agency yesterday.
Azim, who was entrusted with the responsibility to look into the smooth disbursement of the $40m ILO fund from the association part, said the ILO has been actively engaged in the fund mobilization considering their irreparable loss of future earnings.
He said living family members of the Rana Plaza victims and injured garment workers will get Tk 50,000 each under the ILO fund.
read more. & read more.
INDEPENDENT BSS

* Rana Plaza survivors left in desperate straits:

20140421 DAILYSTAR rana-plaza-despite

Most of the survivors, around 66 percent, of the Rana Plaza tragedy are leading an inhuman life in the face of difficulties to meet their daily needs, according to a survey.

A total of 2,222 victims were surveyed, including 1,436 survivors and 786 family members, by ActionAid Bang-ladesh. Of them, 2.4 percent cannot make ends meet at all, the survey found.
The objective of the survey was to portray the current socio-economic and physical vulnerability of the workers along with vulnerability of family members of the deceased, said Aamanur Rahman, deputy director of ActionAid Bangladesh, a nongovernmental organisation.

The survey also highlighted the dire need for compensation. Rahman shared the findings of the survey at a dialogue organised by ActionAid at Brac Centre Inn in the capital.
The top three priorities of the survivors are food and their outstanding house rents and loans, he said.
Although almost one year has passed since the building collapse, 73.7 percent of the survivors are yet to return to work, mainly due to physical ailment (63.74 percent), trauma (23.76 percent) and employers’ unwillingness (7.54 percent).
The majority of the respondents have individual and family incomes between Tk 5,000 and Tk 10,000 a month.

“We have found that 55 families have failed to manage a consistent source of income in the past 12 months,” said Rahman, also a team leader for conducting the survey. The much-expected compensation from 28 retailers is still an unresolved issue, he added.
No lesson was learnt from the industrial accidents in the past, said Shirin Akhter, a member of the parliamentary standing committee on the labour and employment ministry.
read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd UNB NEWAGEnew

* ONE YEAR AFTER RANA PLAZA TRAGEDY : Survivors stare blankly at future:

Plights of the survivors of the Rana Plaza building collapse and the families of the deceased or missing workers continues one year after the tragedy with many survivors still recovering from trauma, many yet to be rehabilitated while the maimed ones staring blankly at an uncertain future.

Families of the missing workers also have passed one year waiting for news of their near and dear ones since the tragedy struck on April 24, 2013 while families of the deceased, particularly their orphans, are still crying for justice, compensation, better livelihood, education and other basic needs.

A large number of survivors left Savar for their villages and left their jobs switching over to other trades for a livelihood while many others were taking treatment or attending motivational programmes to get rid of the trauma or pain.
On the morning of April 24, 2013, the eight-storey Rana Plaza, which had housed five clothing factories, a shopping mall and a bank, came crashing down, leaving at least 1,135 people dead and about 2,000 injured.

Rehana Khatun, a 20-year-old seamstress, was still undergoing treatment at Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed in Savar.
Rehana, a swing operator of New Wave Style, one of the factories that Rana Plaza had housed, was rescued 20 hours after the building collapse and had her legs amputated up to knee.

She, however, alleged that she had lost her legs due to delay in treatment.
‘My dream has been shattered,’ yelled a wheelchair-bound Rehana at Savar.
‘What can I do now without my legs…No one will offer me a job. No one will marry me even. My dream of having a small and happy family, for what I came to Dhaka from Pabna, has been shattered,’ Rehana told New Age.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* BGMEA forms body to scrutinise Rana Plaza victims:

BGMEA Vice President SM Mannan Kochi has been made the convener of the committee

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has formed a committee to bring all the Rana Plaza victims under a same umbrella to compensate them following proper scrutiny.

BGMEA Vice President SM Mannan Kochi has been made the convener of the committee, which is comprised of the representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, Labor and Employment Ministry and two other board members of the BGMEA.

The decision to forma such a committee was made at a BGMEA board meeting held on April 13 at its Karwan Bazaar office.

The main task of the committee is to bring all the victims under a common umbrella to compensate through reviewing their claims as a worker of those factories housed in Rana Plaza that collapsed, killing 1,135 workers and injured over 2,500 on April 24, last year.

“The committee with the help of the local administration will scan the workers portfolios to make sure whether they were the workers of the Rana Plaza factories or not,” SM Mannan Kochi, convener of the committee, told the Dhaka Tribune.

He also said: We have made the decision to bring all the victims under a common platform as they are now scattered and wandering for help and the committee will scrutinise the claims of the victims with the help of the local administration.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

* Government may ask for fresh DNA samples:

Government is mulling a comprehensive DNA profile database for readymade garment workers

Following suggestions from the DNA profiling authority, the government is planning to circulate public notice seeking fresh DNA samples for the 115 unidentified victims of the Rana Plaza collapse.

It is also mulling a comprehensive DNA profile database for readymade garment workers, although the tasked is deemed to be a steep on.

The National DNA Profiling Authorityrecently submitted five recommendations to the Labour Ministry detailing various short- and long-term preparations for tackling such disasters.

“All the suggestions are acceptable, but will be tough for the government to implement at present. We are examining some of the suggestions that can be implemented shortly. One of them is for the unidentified victims [of Rana Plaza collapse],”Faizur Rahman, joint secretaryof the Labour Ministry, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

The labour ministry identified 207 out of the 322 victims, who had to be buried without knowing who they were, by examining DNA samples provided by the relatives at the DNA profiling laboratory at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Bangladesh factory survivors turn to theatre:

Survivors of the Rana Plaza collapse last year say theatre is helping them to deal with the trauma.

Survivors of the 2013 factory collapse in Bangladesh are turning to theatre to deal with the trauma of the tragedy.

More than 1100 people died when then Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed outside the country’s capital Dhaka.

Many survivors say that they are scarred by the memories of what happened and suffer nightmares, as they try to live with the memory of what happened. They say theatre has helped them think positively.
see more (video report).
aljazeera

* Most Bangladesh factory survivors still too sick to work: survey:

Most survivors of the Bangladesh factory collapse that killed 1,138 garment workers are still too traumatised or injured to work 12 months after the tragedy, a survey released Monday said.

Other survivors, who are able to work, have been refused jobs in garment factories because owners fear they would now be too slow or could be involved in some kind of labour activism, the survey said.
British charity Action Aid said 74 percent of the 1,436 survivors they questioned are not working a year after being pulled alive from the rubble of the Rana Plaza garment factory complex.
The survey’s findings come as Bangladesh prepares to mark one year since the country’s worst industrial disaster on April 24, when the nine-storey building collapsed on the outskirts of Dhaka.
‘Of those who do not have jobs, some 64 percent said they were suffering from ailments including amputations, severe chest, head, limb injuries or have their spines broken,’ survey head Amanur Rahman told AFP.
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NEWAGEnew

Other survivors, who are able to work, have been refused jobs in garment factories because owners fear they would now be too slow or could be involved in some kind of labour activism, the survey said.
British charity Action Aid said 74 percent of the 1,436 survivors they questioned are not working a year after being pulled alive from the rubble of the Rana Plaza garment factory complex.
The survey’s findings come as Bangladesh prepares to mark one year since the country’s worst industrial disaster on April 24, when the nine-storey building collapsed on the outskirts of Dhaka.
‘Of those who do not have jobs, some 64 percent said they were suffering from ailments including amputations, severe chest, head, limb injuries or have their spines broken,’ survey head Amanur Rahman told AFP.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* 1,058 Rana Plaza survivors out of work:

‘Everyone is talking about financial support for Rana Plaza victims, but many are living with trauma’

20140421 DHAKATRIBUNE front-RanaPlaza-jobless-survivors

Sajal Das, a survivor of last year’s Rana Plaza collapse, has been jobless for the last one month and all his savings have exhausted. He was forced to quit three jobs in the last six months for what the employers claimed was his failure to perform properly. More humiliating, he was not given the wage for the month when he quit the last job.

The 26-year-old still feels the pain of being physically challenged by the injuries he received in the disaster on April 24 last year. Now he cannot work for two hours at a stretch.

Two months back Sajal took a job at a factory belonging to Al-Muslim Group but he was able to deliver only 50% of the expected work. “The factory officials were not happy with my output. I had no option but to quit the job,” he said, adding that he had joined the work before being fully cured.

A worker at the New Wave Style on the sixth floor of the Rana Plaza building, Sajal was rescued from the debris five hours after the collapse. He was injured in the back and waist, and carried the trauma of the experience with him, always.

The doctors asked him to take enough rest and continue treatment. But he was forced to take a job as he could not afford the cost of medicines. Even the money he had got as assistance was almost spent.
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DHAKATRIBUNE

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20140422

* Consumers demand more accountability:

It took the worst garment factory accident in modern history to teach consumers the real price of an $8 T-shirt.

A year after 1,134 people were killed and even more injured in the Rana Plaza collapse, mindsets are changing one stitch at a time—from consumers demanding more at the till to greater accountability by clothing brands to the workers themselves.
When the eight-storey building collapsed last April 24, images were beamed across the world of lifeless and limbless workers being pulled from rubble strewn with brightly coloured pieces of clothing made for labels such as Joe Fresh, Mango, Benetton and The Children’s Place.

For a moment, it seemed the world took notice after decades of accepting Bangladesh as fast fashion’s dirty little secret. The garment business is a $22-billion-a-year industry for the South Asian country. Before Rana Plaza, a blind eye was turned to the appalling working conditions that garment workers, mostly women but also children, endured daily. Most worked for long hours, no overtime pay and in unsafe buildings for less than $1 a day.
Since then, there has been a concentrated push for change by consumers demanding more accountability and by many clothing brands.
read more.
daily star bd

* ILO standard compensations demanded:

Labour leaders, academics and journalist leaders on Monday demanded ILO standard compensations for the families of Rana Plaza victims  and the injured workers.

Speaking at a roundtable they called for paying the compensations before April 24, the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster that killed over 1,100, workers and left may more severely injured and crippled.
Industri All Bangladesh Council, organized the discussion at National Press Club.
The council’s coordinator ZM Quamrul Anam in his keynote paper demanded compensations commensurate to  International Labour Organisation standrads.
He demanded ensuring safety of the workers in the factories.

Labour leader Nazrul Islam Khan, the president of the council, called on the government, the garment factory owners and the buyers to come forward to provide more compensations for the Rana Plaza victims.
He demanded the compensations commensurate to ILO standards set out in its convention no-121, calculating the workers’ losses according to what they could earn had they lived and their pains and sufferings.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* The Ghosts of Rana Plaza:

In Bangladesh, one year after the worst accident in the history of the garment industry, recovery remains a fragile process, justice seems elusive, and reform has a long way to go.

Four Days in April
On the morning of Thursday, April 24, 2013, traffic on the Dhaka–Aricha Highway was lighter than usual.
On most days, the industrial artery that connects the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka to suburbs in the northwest is choked with Suzuki hatchbacks, scooters, and banged-​up buses that honk and belch incessantly as they carry commuters to construction sites and factories in towns like Dhamrai, Gakulnagor, and Savar, a subdistrict of the capital dominated by garment makers.

But on that morning, they were in the third day of another nationwide hartal, or strike, called by opponents of the ruling Awami League party, the latest in a never-​ending cycle of political brinkmanship that had paralyzed the country on and off for years. Like power outages and flash floods, strikes are a fact of life in Bangladesh. In Savar and other manufacturing hubs, the protocol among working-​class people generally is to heed them or be prepared for trouble.

Rana Plaza, a hulking commercial complex that fronts the highway, was an exception that day.
The building’s owner, Sohel Rana, insisted that employees report for work as usual, in defiance of the opposition, with plans to mobilize them for a possible street protest. This was not an empty gesture:
On any given day, the plaza’s eight stories held as many as five thousand people, most of whom were employed by garment-​making companies linked to well-​known Western brands.

At his pastry shop across the street from the plaza, Saiful Islam was reading about the strike in the morning paper when he heard a shriek of breaking glass cut the air. He looked up to see shards of blue glass from the building that adjoined the plaza raining onto the far sidewalk, cutting several people waiting at the bus stand below. For a moment Islam assumed it was sabotage, a brick through a window, until the ground started to quake. Rana Plaza seemed to be imploding.

As the quake intensified, more panels blasted out onto the street, and several workers jumped to their deaths. Then the upper floors fell in quick succession, one after another, causing the bottom half of the building to pancake under their weight. In a matter of seconds, the eight-​story building was reduced to a heap of slabs and iron.

As the cloud of concrete dust began to settle on the rubble, Islam and others bolted across the street to look for survivors. Police and the fire brigade were called to the scene, but word of the collapse spread even faster through nearby bastis—​dense neighborhoods of concrete and tin barracks where poor garment-​making families live. By the time fire-​brigade officers showed up ten minutes later, an agitated crowd of hundreds had already gathered and was quickly swelling into a crowd of thousands, hindering authorities’ ability to access the site. “It was a human sea,” says Islam.

Lutfer Rahman, whose wife, Rina, worked at Rana Plaza, was sipping tea in their damp one-​room home when a neighbor yelled through his doorway: The plaza was gone. Lutfer and Rina had married in their hard-​bitten farming village and, like legions of people, moved to Dhaka for better prospects.
They soon had two daughters, Arifa and Latifa, and Lutfer had supported the family by pulling a rickshaw until asthma forced him to quit. So Rina had become the breadwinner, a factory helper passing materials to sewing operators for 5,000 taka ($62) a month.
Now, for the first time since he’d given up his rickshaw, Lutfer ran: about half a mile through the winding labyrinth of dirt lanes and workshops, past blacksmiths and brick kilns, trailed by his daughters. They reached the site just as two bodies were pulled from the wreckage, neither of them Rina’s. Lutfer, overwhelmed by the rising din of sirens and shouting, bent over to catch his breath.
(…)
The previous afternoon, when she and hundreds of fellow workers returned to Rana Plaza from their lunch break, they were prevented from entering the building. Cracks two inches deep had formed in the walls spanning several floors, prompting the bosses of the five garment factories housed inside to send employees home for the day.
The break was sudden and welcome. Since starting work at Ether Tex Ltd. eight months before, Paki had been pulling twelve-​ to fourteen-​hour shifts six days a week at her sewing machine for 8,500 taka ($110) a month, with the rare day off.
After she and other workers were sent home that day, a local engineer was called in to inspect the cracks and had declared the building “vulnerable,” recommending that it be sealed off and examined by experts from Bangladesh’s leading technical university.
Word of the cracked columns reached a local TV station, which sent a crew to the site. A cameraman slipped inside and filmed for just a few minutes before being driven off by Rana’s men. A story about the cracks was broadcast later that evening.

20140422 VQRonline
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VQR

* ACC to estimate Rana Plaza construction cost:

The Anti-Corruption Commission has sought assistance from an expert group of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology to estimate the construction cost of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in order to calculate the total wealth of its owner Sohel Rana.

The commission has already taken the wealth statements from Sohel Rana’s father Abdul Khaleque and mother Morzia Begum to find out the total illegal wealth of Sohel Rana, an ACC official told New Age.
He said that an ACC team had already visited the Rana Plaza site and talked with contractors who built the eight-storey commercial building which collapsed in Savar on April 24, 2013 killing 1,138 people, most of them female garment workers.
ACC director Tawhidul Islam said that its team working to determine Sohel Rana’s total illegal wealth had taken statements from his father and mother as there was no scope to send notice to the Rana Plaza owner who was in jail.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Safety lacking after Bangladesh factory disaster: US:

A year after the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building left more than 1,100 dead, Washington says it remains concerned about worker safety and rights in Bangladesh.

In a briefing for journalists, a group of senior US officials said progress had been made getting the government in Dhaka to crack down on dangerous practices and give millions of workers in the country more power to protect themselves.
But the country still has a ways to go, they said, after the deadliest textile factory disaster in history left 1,135 dead on April 24 last year.
The poorly built nine-story Rana Plaza outside Dhaka was a warren of shops producing garments for export, including for major international brands like Italy’s Benetton, Britain’s Primark and Spain’s Mango.
Its collapse came six months after a fire at the Tazreen garment factory killed 111, further highlighting the deep safety issues in the country’s $20 billion clothing industry.

‘We have seen progress in many areas, to include increased registration of unions, harmonized fire and structural safety standards, (and) an increased hiring of inspectors’ whose reports are publicly accessible, said one US official speaking on the basis of anonymity.
‘We still have concerns however about labor rights and workplace safety in Bangladesh and there’s still a lot of work to be done, particularly on the legal side of things.’
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NEWAGEnew DHAKATRIBUNE

* Rana Plaza Collapse: ILO to mark 1-yr commemoration:

Gilbert Houngbou, ILO Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships, arrived here on Tuesday, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse, said an official.

Hougbou is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, ministers, employers’ and workers’ organizations, ambassadors of different countries stationed in Dhaka, and representatives of initiatives involved in improving working conditions in the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) sector.
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UNB FE bd

* Victims doubt if justice would be done:

The survivors and families of the deceased in the Rana Plaza building collapse in Savar have expressed deep frustration that over a dozen of cases filed after the factory disaster in April 2013 are still pending with court or under investigation.

As 11 cases remained pending for trial with the labour court in Dhaka and two others under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department a year after the tragedy, the affected workers and labour rights activists raised question about the government’s sincerity about ensuring justice to the victims.
They also expressed doubt whether justice would be done in due time as many other cases, including the cases of Spectrum Sweater factory collapse near Savar on April 12, 2005, that left 64 people dead and the Tazreen Fashions fire that killed 112 in November 2012, were still pending with separate courts in Dhaka.

‘If we are denied justice, such disasters will repeat,’ said 20-year-old Rehana Khatun, a sewing operator of New Wave Style factory the collapsed Rana Plaza had housed.
‘If the investigation needs so much time even after everything is clear to all, we are not sure how many years it will take to complete the trial,’ said Saydia Gulrukh, a member of Activist Anthropologists, a platform working for labour rights.

On the morning of April 24, 2013, the eight-storey Rana Plaza, which had housed five clothing factories, a shopping mall and a bank, came crashing down, leaving at least 1,135 people dead and about 2,000 injured.
After the disaster, the police filed a case against the building owner, Sohel Rana, and the owners of the five clothing factories housed in the building under Section 337, 338, 427, 304 (b) and 34 of Penal Code.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Compensation before Apr 24 demanded:

Bangladesh Labour Welfare Foundation (BLF) demanded Monday payment of compensation for the Rana Plaza victims and their families before the first anniversary of the tragic industrial incident (April 24), taking their loss of future earnings and sufferings into account.

The labour organisation also expressed deep resentment over non-payment of the workers’ rightful compensation even almost a year after the world’s worst industrial tragedy that took 1,135 lives.

BLF formally placed the demand at a press conference at National Press Club. Among others, BLF chairman Abdus Salam Khan and secretary general Z M Kamrul Anam, and labour leader Hedayatul Islam were present on the occasion.
The BLF chairman said the ill-fated survivors, mostly female apparel workers, are still deprived of necessary medical treatments and promised rehabilitation facilities.
read more.
FE bd

* GTF compensation fund for Rana Plaza victims to be disbursed from today:

The fund authority will begin the disbursement at the conference room of the labour and employment ministry

The compensation for the victims of Rana Plaza and their family members from the Global Trust Fund (GTF) will be disbursed today, on the eve of the first anniversary of the catastrophic disaster.

The fund authority will begin the disbursement at the conference room of the labour and employment ministry by handing over compensations to only two persons as a token distribution. Rest of the victims will receive their due compensation through their mobile accounts, Labour Ministry Joint Secretary Khandoker Mostan Hossain confirmed the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

He further added that the authority had already completed all arrangements for opening mobile accounts for all victims and their families.

“A programme will be arranged at 3pm on Tuesday [today] at the ministry to distribute the compensation. The state minister will hand over the money from the global trust fund to two of the victims,” he added.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Traumatised, left mostly uncared for:

At nightfall, Zulekha Begum goes to bed but quite often she does not get a full night’s sleep.

The traumatic scenes that unfolded before her eyes a year ago still haunt her, ghost-like.

The 30-year-old survivor of Rana Plaza collapse says the most frightening part of her dreams is when her dead colleagues come to her and blame her for not giving them water at the time of their death.
Zulekha, however, is not alone in her affliction. Some 24 percent of over 2,400 survivors and rescue workers are in the same boat as her, according to a study by ActionAid Bangladesh.

They either have difficulty sleeping or get uncontrollable fits, and not least, their phobia of multi-storey buildings, getting under concrete roofs and darkness. Several of them are hounded by the pong of dead bodies, while some randomly start to behave abnormally.

The condition has been barring them from leading normal lives and getting re-employed a year after the tragic event, the deadliest industrial accident in the nation’s history. And, in the odd chance that they find work, they have to quit before  long: the haunted memories severely encumber their performance.

Unfortunately, the issue, which, psychiatrists say, can rouse suicidal tendencies, never got any attention from the government. While some international donors and nongovernmental organisations came forward to provide psychological support, the operations petered out after some time.
read more.
daily star bd

* ILO to give Tk 50,000 to each Rana Plaza victims:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said that it will provide Tk 50,000 to each of 3,000 Rana Plaza victim workers or their families.

State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu informed the journalists in the city after a meeting with ILO Deputy Director-General Gilbert Houngbou on Tuesday afternoon, according to a news agency.

Earlier, ILO Deputy DG for Field Operations and Partnerships Houngbou arrived in Dhaka, ahead of one-year anniversary of the nine-storey Rana Plaza building collapse at Savar Upazila in the outskirts of the city. Houngbou is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, ministers, employers’ and workers’ organisations, ambassadors of different countries stationed in Dhaka, and representatives of initiatives involved in improving working conditions in the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) sector.

On Thursday, Houngbou will speak at a high-level event – ‘One Year after Rana Plaza: Progress and the Way Forward’ – to be organised by the Government of Bangladesh and ILO in the city to mark the commemoration of Rana Plaza collapse. Participants will share the experiences of last 12 months and the progress that has been so far, and also discuss next steps in the Rana Plaza response, the news agency said.
to read. & read more.
FE bd UNB

* Rana Plaza Collapse: RMG workers, victims demand death to owners of bldg:

Garment workers and victims of the Rana Plaza tragedy on Tuesday demanded of the government to ensure capital punishment of the owners of the building and the factories housed in it.

They also demanded that the compensation to families of the workers killed in the building should not be less than Tk 48 lakh each.
The demands came from a press conference, organised by the Garment Workers’ Unity Forum, at the Nirmal Sen Auditorium at Topkhana Road in the city.

The Forum placed a nine-point demand that also include providing job to at least one member of the family of a maimed worker and taking quick steps to ensure the overall safety of the workers in garment factories.
(…)

Reading out a written statement of the Fourm, its president Moshrefa Mishu raised questions about the lack of disbursement of the funds that have been collected by the Prime Minister’s Office as well as by the joint initiatives of buyers, retailers and other stakeholders.

She said that although Tk 127 crore was deposited to the PM’s relief, only Tk 22 crore has been disbursed so far “Why the rest of the fund has been lying idle while most of the victims are suffering?”

Moshrefa Mishu also expressed her concern over ‘conspiracies by different quarters’ to lower the amount of the official compensation.
She noted that a high-powered committee appointed by the High Court in August last has primarily proposed a compensation of Tk 14-15 lakh to the families of the each dead worker.

“The compensation proposed for workers, who lost limbs, is even lower. We strongly condemn such moves to lower the compensation,” the Garment Workers Unity Forum president said in response to a query.
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UNB FE bd daily star bd

* IBC to hold rally in front of collapsed Rana Plaza Wednesday:

IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) will form a human chain and a worker’s rally in front of the debris of collapsed Rana Plaza in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital on Wednesday.

IndustriALL, a global federation of labour unions, will hold its programmes from 10:30 am as part of its month-long programmes.
IndustryAll Bangladesh Council has taken the month-long programmes to mark the 1st anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy, according to a press release.
The multi-storey Rana Plaza came down crashing on April 24 last year killing at least 1135 workers and injuring many more.
to read.
UNB

* Rana Plaza victims to get Tk50,000 each:

The amount that has been deposited to the trust fund is only US$1.5 crore while a deposit of $4 crore is expected to complete giving compensations to all the victims

A total of 3,080 victims of the Rana Plaza collapse would be compensated, with each victim receiving Tk 50,000 from the global trust fund (GTF) created by international retailers, said State Minister for Labour and Employment Mojibul Haque Chunnu.

The minister made the discloser while talking to journalists on Tuesday after handing over cheques of Tk50,000 to two survivors of the deadly incident that took more than 1000 lives.

The GTF authority began distributing the compensation in a programme held at the labour and employment ministry conference room by compensating two of the survivors as a token distribution.

The people that received the compensation officially in the programme, are- survivor of the incident Jesmin Aktar and Shamsun Nahar, mother of deceased Shilpi Aktar.

ILO Deputy Director General of Filed Operation Gilbert Houngbou, ILO Country Director Srinivasa Reddy, global union federation IndustriALL’s Bangladesh chapter’s leader Roy Ramesh Chandra, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar attended the programme.

While distributing the cheques, the state minister said the Rana Plaza victims and their family members would be receiving the compensations from Tuesday, a day before the first anniversary of the incident.

Chunnu said: “The rest of the victims will receive their due compensation through their mobile accounts by Wednesday. The shop keepers and owners were also included in the lists.
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DHAKATRIBUNE NEWAGEnew BSS

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20140423

* Payments from ILO-led RMG Trust Fund begin:

The Rana Plaza Coordination Committee Tuesday formally started providing Tk 50,000 as compensation to each of the Rana Plaza victims and their families.     

The multi-stakeholder committee has made available approximately Tk 142 million to Bkash for payments to eligible claimants.

State Minister for Laobur and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu handed over cheques worth Tk 50,000 each to Jesmin Akhter, an injured Rana Plaza worker and Shamsunnahar, mother of Shilpi, who died in the building collapse, at his chamber at the Bangladesh Secretariat Tuesday.

Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar, International Labour Organisation (ILO) Deputy Director General Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo and Country Director Srinivas B Reddy, among others, were present during the event.
read more. & read more. & read more.
FE bd NEWAGEnew DHAKATRIBUNE

* Mark April 24 as national mourning day: rights activists:

Labour leaders yesterday urged the government to mark April 24 as a national mourning day to pay respects to those who died in the Rana Plaza tragedy last year.

All the garment units should also remain shut on the day, they said on the eve of the first anniversary of the nation’s deadliest industrial disaster that killed more than 1,100 workers.
Labour leaders and other discussants at a seminar also demanded safe workplaces at garment factories, a database system for the workers, and rehabilitation and compensation for the workers of Rana Plaza.
Bangladesh Labour Rights Forum organised the seminar on ‘One Year of Rana Plaza Tragedy: Works of Garment Labours, Safety, Compensation and Today’s Reality’ at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
“April 24 must be declared a national mourning day,” said Abul Hossain, convener of Bangladesh Labour Rights Forum.

Presenting a keynote paper at the seminar, he said the owners’ tendency to make hefty profits within the shortest possible time has often affected factory maintenance and worker safety.
Although foreign buyers have vowed to increase product prices on the back of a hike in worker salaries, they are yet to offer higher prices for Bangladeshi clothing, he said.
“We are requesting the international buyers to fulfil their commitments by increasing the prices.”
read more.
daily star bd

* Exhibit brings alive the agony of the dead:

The walls, floor, corners and classrooms inside the photography school Pathshala in the capital’s Panthapath came alive yesterday afternoon with the silent cries of hundreds of lives lost in the garment factory tragedies in the country.

Depicted through pictures, objects, audio visual and video installations as well as performance art, 20 artistes reflected the sorrows of the more than 1,100 people who lost their lives in the April 24 Rana Plaza collapse last year.
“Visual art has a strong language. We thus tried to include artists from all mediums of visual art to express their thoughts on the issue,” said Mahbubur Rahman, curator of the five-day exhibition titled “1134–lives not number”.
Runa Rani, mother of 18-year-old Shamapti Rani, who was killed in the collapse, inaugurated the event along with labour rights activists Taslima Akhter, Prof Ahmed Kamal and Mahbubur Rahman.

“These images remind me of the deadly hours spent inside the black hole,” said Rani, who along with her younger daughter Priti, were pulled alive from the rubbles. But Shamapti was never found. In February, her death was confirmed through a DNA report.
“But I could not find her grave in Jurain graveyard where all the unidentified bodies were buried,” she said.
read more.
daily star bd

* ONE YEAR AFTER RANA PLAZA TRAGEDY-III : Compensation still eludes victims:

One year after the Rana Plaza building collapse, the families of the deceased and injured workers are still waiting for long-term compensation.

Families of the deceased and injured workers were suffering hardship being uncertain about who would compensate them, when it would be paid and what would be the amount.
The government provided financial support for the families of the deceased and injured workers but did not make any clear commitment about the compensation package for the Rana Plaza victims.

Labour rights groups are not considering the financial assistance of the Prime Minister’s Office as compensation but an emergency relief.
Initiatives taken by the global trade unions in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation for compensation to the Rana Plaza victims got little response.
‘So far we have received only repeated assurances from the government and the BGMEA but not any compensation,’ Ayesha Khatun, whose daughter remained missing since the Rana Plaza collapse, told New Age.

She said she had received no compensation or financial assistance in last one year. She said her daughter, Khaleda Akhter, had worked on the fifth floor of the Rana Plaza.
‘Many agencies included the name of her daughter in lists and I donated blood for DNA test but I do not know the result,’ Ayesha claimed.
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NEWAGEnew

* Survived, only to suffer:

Thirty-five-year-old Feli limps to her rented room from the small grocery store she opened three months ago with the help of the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP).

One of the 1,500 pulled out alive from the rubble of Rana Plaza, she has a paralysing feeling in her left leg and is unable to bend her left arm. Her physical weaknesses have left her dependent on her husband to run the store and for household chores.
Feli’s husband Hasu Miah, 40, had to quit his job as a caretaker at a house nearby to take care of his wife and 11-year-old daughter. The family’s financial hardships have deepened as their monthly income has dropped to a third of Tk 18,000 that they earned collectively a year before.
“It has been two months that we cannot pay rent for our home and the grocery shop. Our daughter’s school fees are also due,” said an ailing Feli, who has no surname.
She had been trapped under a broken roof and beam for three days before she was rescued.
One year has passed since the deadliest apparel industry disaster in Savar on April 24 last year that killed over 1,134 workers and left nearly 2,000 injured. The families that had migrated from their rural homes in the hope of a better life are struggling to make ends meet.
read more.
daily star bd

* Rana Plaza victims urgently need assistance: HRW:

Human Rights Watch urged the international garment brands to help mitigate the damage by assisting with the full restitution of those who were injured or lost their lives in Rana Plaza collapse.

“One year after Rana Plaza collapsed, far too many victims and their families are at serious risk of destitution,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

The deputy Asia director said, “International garment brands should be helping the injured and the dependents of dead workers who manufactured their clothes.”

International companies that sourced garments from five factories operating in the Rana Plaza building are not contributing enough to the financial trust fund set up to support survivors and the families of those who died, the New York-based rights organisation said in a report published in its website today.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd HRW  NEWAGEnew INDEPENDENT DHAKATRIBUNE

* Report against Sohel Rana soon:

The Anti-Corruption Commission and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) will submit a joint report soon on the crimes and corruption of Sohel Rana, owner of collapsed Rana Plaza.

ACC secretary M Foyjur Rahman Chowdhury made the remark in a press briefing at ACC in the capital.

Foyjur Rahman said, “The investigations of ACC and CID are at the final stage and it will be submitted jointly to avoid repetition of any crimes and corruption.”

Besides, the government has already confiscated all immovable assets of Sohel Rana as per a High Court directive.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
& read more.
BANGLA NEWS24 NEWAGEnew  INDEPENDENT  DHAKATRIBUNE FE bd daily star bd
UNB

* 1st anniversary of Rana Plaza tragedy tomorrow:

Tomorrow (April 24) is the first anniversary of the catastrophic Rana Plaza building collapse, the worst ever tragedy in the 34- year history of the country’s multi-billion dollar Readymade Garment (RMG) industry.

On that day in 2013, Rana Plaza, an eight-storey commercial building with several garment factories in it, collapsed, killing 1,135 people and maiming numerous others, mostly garment workers.

After the incident, stakeholders, the government, buyers and other stakeholders came forward with necessary all out supports in aid of the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse.

Garment makers were in intense pressure from the European and American buyers while the US suspended the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade benefits for Bangladesh citing violation of workers rights.

A number of trade union organizations including Industrial Bangladesh Council (IBC) and Sammilito Garment Sramik Federation played active role in realizing compensation from the responsible garment makers for the family members of the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse.

Likewise, global trade union bodies such as IndustriALL, a global union federation, UNI, a global trade union and Clean Clothes Campaign, a leading rights network for the garment sector, gave ultimatum to 29 brands which sourced from factories housed at Rana Plaza, asking to pay for the trust fund before April 24, 2014.
read more.
BSS

* Art exhibition on Rana Plaza tragedy in city:

A photo and art exhibition will be held in the city on Thursday marking the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza Tragedy and creating public awareness about urban disasters.

The photo and art exhibition on Rana Plaza and Urban Disaster will be inaugurated at 4.30 pm at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, followed by a video show titled, ‘Rana Plaza Tragedy: Are we ready to face the next big calamity’.
Oxfam, a world-wide development agency, will arrange various programmes, including the exhibition, on this occasion.

An open-for-all theatre, ‘Swapnapothik’, featuring Rana Plaza will also be staged by Aranyak, the leading theatre group in Bangladesh, which will be preceded by a Candlelight Vigil at the same venue in remembrance of the victims.
read more.
UNB

* Rana Plaza – one year on:

April 24th 2013 saw the collapse of Rana Plaza, a badly made and overcrowded building near Dhaka that housed five garment factories.

The catastrophe killed 1,135 workers and injured more than 2,500. One year after the deadliest disaster of its kind, we visit some of the victims and their families.
see photo report.
ucanews

* One year on, brands still failing Rana Plaza survivors and victims’ families: UK activists join a global day of action for justice:

24 April, 2014: Labour rights campaigners will be marking the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster with a memorial action to demand justice for Bangladeshi garment workers affected by the collapse of the eight story building, which killed over 1138 workers.

Activists from Labour Behind the Label, War on Want, the TUC and Made in Europe are planning to form a human chain along Oxford Street to remember those killed while making clothes for the UK high street.
They will be joined by Amin Haque, the general secretary of the National Garment Workers Federation, one of the Bangladesh unions leading the call for compensation.

The groups are demanding that all those brands buying from Rana Plaza immediately pay into a Fund set up by the ILO to provide compensation to those injured in the collapse and the families of those killed.
They are also demanding that all brands, including GAP and Asda, sign up to the Bangladesh Accord, an agreement launched last May which aims to prevent future tragedies.
read more.
labour behind the label

* One year on. The story of April 24th 2013:

One year on from the Rana Plaza factory disaster, UNI Global Union’s Ben Vanpeperstraete, speaks about the Bangladesh Accord and the challenges ahead.
see video.
UNIglobalUNION

* Q&A with Jyrki Raina on the Rana Plaza Anniversary:

Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, has this message on the anniversary of the catastrophic collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building complex in Bangladesh.

The industrial homicide on 24 April 2013 took the lives of at least 1,138 people and injured 2000 more.
see video.
INDUSRIall

* 3,000 victim families of Rana Plaza tragedy to get ILO assistance:

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has started distributing financial assistance to the families of the victims of Rana Plaza building collapse.

“With two persons yesterday, the ILO started distribution of money…a total of 3,000 family members of the victims of Rana Plaza tragedy will get the financial support,” M Atiqul Islam, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told BSS today.

Islam said the mobile financial service bKash is being used in the distribution of the financial assistance.
read more.
BSS

* A year of Rana Plaza tragedy wide gap persists between commitments and delivery: CPD:

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a civil society think-tank has urged the authorities to fulfill their commitments to help the victims of Rana Plaza tragedy and their families.

The call came at a keynote paper presented at a seminar to mark the first anniversary of the worst industrial disaster of the modern world that killed 1,134 garment workers and left many injured and jobless.
Based on a study the paper was presented by CPD additional research director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem.

It said both the government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have fallen behind in meeting their pledges.
It said the government should fulfill its pledges regarding financial support, treatment facilities and legal measures, while the BGMEA should provide salaries and dues of missing workers, compensation for the victims and their families, reemployment of the survivors.

A long-term programme focusing on sustainable livelihood needs to be formulated for the victims and their families and thereby undertake appropriate support measures, the CPD study suggested.
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UNB BSS

* Affected workers light candles at Rana Plaza site:

Affected workers and their family members observed the first anniversary of Rana Plaza tragedy by lighting candles in front of the site of building collapse here this evening.

A number of non-government organizations organized the programme at 7:01 pm along with one thousand members of the affected families.

Local MP Dr. Enamur Rahman, JSD leader Shirin Aktar and leaders of other organizations started the programme by lighting candles.

Foreign nationals also lighted candles along with affected workers and members of their families, who broke into tears during the programme.
read more.
BSS

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20140424

* In Memoriam:

One year on, the most important abiding truth that remains about the Rana Plaza disaster is that 1,136 workers lost their lives.

The issues of accountability and compensation and whether the tragedy could provide a watershed moment for the industry cannot and should not obscure the simple human fact that Rana Plaza took 1,136 lives from us: sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives.

Whatever happens in the future, these men and women — many of them no more than boys or girls – are gone forever and nothing can bring them back to their families.

Let us never forget the human element that lies at the heart of this tragedy, and it is to this end that the Dhaka Tribune has chosen to commemorate the dead by taking a full page to print their names to give our readers some sense of the scale and enormity of this catastrophe.

Note: The list presented here contains 1,019 names out of the number of 1,136 dead provided by the DC office.
The discrepancy arises due to the fact that not all bodies were able to be definitively identified, and this is the fullest list of names that we could compile from the information provided by the DC office and the National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory.
We mean no disrespect to those whose names may have been left off the list and do not mean to diminish the loss suffered by their families. We honour the memory of all of the Rana Plaza dead and mourn their loss.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* A year of Rana Plaza disaster today:

The nation today observes a year of the Rana Plaza disaster in which the building housing five clothing factories collapsed on April 24, 2013, leaving at least 1,135 dead and about 2,000 wounded amid a call for the government to declare the day as ‘labour safety day.’

Political and labour rights groups also are demanding that the government should declare April 24 a holiday to commemorate the workers who died in the Rana Plaza collapse.
Various social-cultural groups and trade unions have planned daylong programme to mark the occasion while many local and international rights groups expressed their concern as survivors were still suffering because of injuries and were going without income.

All apparel factories will hoist black flags marking the day, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association said.
The Dhaka district administration and agencies concerned will place wreaths at the collapse site about 9:00am. Labour organisations will place wreaths at the monument erected in front of the collapse site.

The Savar upazila administration also planned a special prayer session at upazila jame masjid after the zuhr prayers while the BGMEA will hold a prayer session at its building at Karwan Bazar in the capital. The exporters’ association will also hold a discussion.
IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, a global federation of labour unions, will begin programmes at 10:30am as part of its month-long observance.
to read.
NEWAGEnew

* Rana Plaza tragedy, a year on:

20140424 NEWAGEA file photo shows mourners gather in front of the Rana Plaza building site as rescuers were removing the debris of the multi-storey building in April 2013. — New Age photo

The collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar on April 24, 2013, which left more than 1,100 people dead and over 2,000 injured, is the worst man-made disaster that Bangladesh has seen thus far.

The tragedy took place exactly five months after a devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited at Ashulia on November 24, 2012, in which more than 110 people were killed and many more injured.
Little wonder then that it sent huge shock waves across not only the country but also the world. Moreover, extensive international media coverage in particular of the disaster, promises to help, financially and otherwise, poured in from various quarters in the country and elsewhere in the world, especially the United States and the European Union — the two major destinations of Bangladesh’s apparel export.

Subsequently, under pressure from the US and the EU in particular, with the former suspending facilities under its generalised system of preferences for some Bangladeshi non-apparel products soon after the Rana Plaza collapse and the latter’s threat to follow suit unless there is a significant development in terms of workplace safety soon, a number of taskforces, formed involving national and international experts to, among others, identify the risky ones, became active without much delay.

As such, it was expected that while, unlike the previous occasions, at least the survivors and the relatives of the victims of the Rana Plaza would not be alone in their existential struggle, the sector would undergo a significant change regarding safety and protection of workers’ rights recognised by the International Labour Organisation.
Regrettably, however, the reality on the ground has thus belied such expectations.

First of all, many of the workers, who went missing after the disaster, are yet to be identified even though their relatives had reportedly given samples for DNA tests to this end on repeated occasions.
According to a study conducted by the non-government organisation ActionAid, over 2,222 men affected, including 1,436 survivors, by the collapse, 67.7 per cent have to struggle to make their ends meet, while near 74 per cent still look for jobs. Moreover, almost 24 per cent of them are yet to recover from trauma.

As for the promised compensation for the victims, many families still have to remain satisfied with the paltry amount given by the government for meeting immediate funeral expenses.
Many retailers like the US-based Wal-Mart still continue to drag their feet over disbursement of the promised amount to the proposed $40 million international fund for the victims casting uncertainty over the fund to take effect to the letter and in spirit.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Light gone out of his life suddenly:

On the morning of April 24 last year, his father bought him some snacks and his mother gave him some money to buy his tiffin, before they said goodbye and went to work.

As fate would have it, it would be their final goodbye, but he did not know it then. Shuvo Islam Bijoy, seven, went to school a happy boy, hoping his parents would not be late to come home like they often were.
But they did not come home at all — both of them died in the Rana Plaza collapse that fateful day.
His parents, both workers at a garment factory in the building, are among the 1,135 people killed in the tragedy.
Co-workers brought the body of his mother, Selina Akter, two days later but the body of his father, Shahadat Hossain Selim, was never found.

Ironically, Bijoy had requested his mother not to go to work that day, as he had heard from his parents the previous evening that cracks had developed in the building.
“I asked her not to go, but she did not listen. She left for the factory after sending me to school,” said Bijoy.
Since the disaster, the boy has been living with his grandmother, Razia Begum. Bijoy and his grandmother, a widow, have to depend on one of Bijoy’s aunts.
Bijoy’s parents have never dreamt of the future he is entering into.
But he is just one of the 837 children whose future has become uncertain following the deadliest industrial disaster in the country last year.
read more.
daily star bd

* Understanding the pain of the victims:

20140424 DAILYSTAR victim-pain

With a death toll of 1,135 and more than 2,500 left injured, the Rana Plaza collapse is the worst industrial accident in the world’s history.

In the wake of the tragedy, the bereaved families and survivors, some of them disabled permanently, face destitution and further anguish over fears of a future in poverty. One year after the collapse, how are some of the most affected doing?
During the months of March and April 2014, a multidisciplinary research team from Brac conducted a study to find out the present conditions of the survivors who received rehabilitation assistance from Brac.

With 26 survivors taking part, the study shed light on their arduous recovery process and the tragedy’s continuing impact even after one year.
For the study, data was collected on the socioeconomic status of the survivors, their physical and mental condition, demographic information, assistance received from other sources, the treatments they sought in the last one year and their future goals and aspirations.
The survivors faced continued vulnerabilities in their lives in spite of the assistance due to poverty, disempowerment, trauma and disability.
They perceive themselves as burdens to their families and society.

During the interviews, some of the survivors spoke in similar tones of distress: “What will I do with this life now? It would have been better if I just died that day”.
(…)

Hundreds more received psychosocial counselling and medical check-ups. Already 350 survivors and relatives of the victims have been identified for seed capital and are going through skills development training and apprenticeships.
This is so they can look towards a future of self-dependency and it is the organisation’s intention to extend this support to more.
read more.
daily star bd

* One year of Rana Plaza tragedy:

After Savar, the ability to manage a post-disaster situation has raised serious concerns

On April 24, 2013, Rana Plaza, an eight-storied commercial building, collapsed in Savar.
On May 13, after 21 days of the incident, the search for the dead ended with the death toll of 1,136.
Approximately 2,515 injured people were rescued from the building alive.

It is considered to be the deadliest garment-factory accident in history, as well as the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history.

According to BGMEA source, at the time of the collapse, five garment factories were in operation in the Rana Plaza building, total 2,760 workers were deployed in five factories of the building while the numbers are 3,900 as per reports by other sources.

The newspaper report said warnings to avoid using the building after cracks appeared the day before had been ignored. Garment workers were ordered to return the following day and the building collapsed during the morning rush-hour.

Why the building collapsed?
According to an assessment report of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC, 2013), the column sizes of Rana Plaza were comparatively small, compared to a standard 8-9 storied industrial building, which might have facilitated the sudden collapse. Storage of heavy equipment in the upper floors, poor workmanship and use of low-strength materials all contributed to the collapse.
(…)

Search and rescue operations, vulnerability of Dhaka and our capacity
Rana Plaza collapse foretastes the preparedness of government and other relevant service providing agencies including factory owners for a tremor. A single building collapse killed 1,136 people and wounded more than 2,000 workers while government’s “all out action” took around 21 days for completing the search and rescue operation.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* The day back with haunting memories:

The tragic Rana Plaza day is back today with some core issues relating to the payment of rightful and long-term compensation to families of the victims of the worst industrial disaster in ready-made garment (RMG) sector still unresolved.

Over 100 of the victims, who died under the Rana Plaza rubble could not yet be identified to the concerns and frustration of their family members and relatives.

According to study reports and labour rights groups, families of most of survivors and their families have been facing untold sufferings due to non-payment of their rightful compensation.

A recent study of the ActionAid Bangladesh revealed that majority of the Rana Plaza survivors had been facing immense financial hardship as 73.7% of them were yet to rejoin work due to physical ailment and psychological trauma.
read more.
FE bd

* Survivors struggle a year after factory collapse:

A year ago, Akhter Lucky, 25, was a Bangladeshi stay-at-home mother while her husband, Ashraful Islam, 30, earned about $58 a month as a line manager in a garment factory.

That ended on April 24, when Rana Plaza — the multi-storey building housing Islam’s factory — collapsed, with about 3,600 garment workers making clothes for western brands inside.
Today, Lucky herself goes out to work, earning $77 a month making clothes for brands like Gap, Zara and Tommy Hilfiger, while neighbours care for her four-year-old son. Islam — who was dragged from the Rana Plaza wreckage, but has no memory of the disaster or days that followed — stays at home, wrestling with migraines and nausea.

“It’s difficult to support us all as I also have to cook and look after my son,” Lucky says. Conditions at her new workplace owned by the Standard Group, one of Bangladesh’s largest manufacturers — whose buyers support new western initiatives to improve factory safety, are better than at Rana Plaza, but, she says: “I am constantly afraid.”
read more.
daily star bd

* A time to heal:

We must all ensure that those who lost so much have the support to continue with their lives

20140424 DHAKATRIBUNE rana-plaza-ann

A year ago today, we, along with millions of others, watched with horror the scenes of devastation from Savar, as the Rana Plaza building collapsed trapping and killing thousands of garment workers.

The distressing images of so many young women and men who lost their lives or were trapped in the building have stayed with us all, and today we will continue to remember all those who lost their lives, a loved one, or have been left with life-changing injuries.

The collapse of Rana Plaza placed the garment industry, which provides work and support for so many in Bangladesh, in the spotlight like never before. For the manufacturers, international brands, trade unions, NGOs, and the government of Bangladesh, it was not an option to stand by and do nothing.

For the 1,138 families who lost loved ones and the more than 2,000 workers who suffered injuries, it was clear that support would be needed to ensure they did not have to endure ill-health and financial hardship in addition to the trauma of the terrible events of April 24, 2013.

In the last year, we have all worked together to develop a groundbreaking approach to address the needs of all survivors and the families of the victims – the Rana Plaza Arrangement.

The Arrangement is of major significance as it is the only coordinated and systematic approach to ensure all the victims, their families, and dependents will receive entitlements to cover their losses. For the first time, such a process brings together all the key parties involved in a Coordination Committee that governs the Arrangement.

This is the first time a mechanism to deal with financial support of victims of such a tragedy has been drawn up that the whole industry can support.

The Coordination Committee is comprised of: The government – the Ministry of Labour and Employment; the employers – the BGMEA, and the Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF); global and local trade unions – IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC), National Coordination Committee for Workers’ Education (NCCWE), and IndustriALL Global Union; non-governmental organisations –BILS and Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC); and the global brands that source from Bangladesh, represented by El Corte Ingles, Loblaw, and Primark.

The Coordination Committee, with the UN agency, the ILO, acting as a neutral chair, has developed a comprehensive and independent process that will deliver support to the victims, their families, and dependants in a predictable manner consistent with international labour standards.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Much left to do:

The majority of the victims have not received much compensation, and are suffering

Twenty-fourth April, 2013 was perhaps the saddest day in the history of modern Bangladesh.

On that fateful day, people in Bangladesh woke up to hear that in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, a building which housed five readymade garment factories, had caved in, with thousands of people, mostly workers, stuck inside.

The next few days saw complete mayhem, with corpses being found from under the rubble, injured people being rescued, and it seemed the country was not well equipped for such massive rescue operation. Soon the authorities took over rescue operations. In the end, the official death toll was 1,134, with 2,515 injured being rescued alive. Many were not found at all.

The incident shook not only Bangladesh, but the whole world, given the fact that the RMG factories in Bangladesh supplied clothes to many of the world’s top brands based in North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan.

The million dollar question was: Who was to blame for the ill fate of the poor workers? Was it the corrupt government officials, the inspectors who allowed such a building, with violations of almost all building codes, to exist?
(…)

Many organisations in Bangladesh, both in large and small scales, are working towards rehabilitation of the victims – some providing medicare, some providing jobs, and some providing entrepreneurship opportunities.
But so far, the effort has been anything but sufficient.

Much more needs to be done, since the majority of the victims have not received much compensation, and are suffering.
We, as Bangladeshis have a part to play in helping the people who play a major role in our foreign currency earnings.
For those of us who can, we should come forward to help them in any way that we can.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Wounds of Rana Plaza collapse fester on:

The collapse of Rana Plaza at Savar on April 24, 2013, which killed more than 1,100 people and injured more than 2,000, mostly workers of five apparel factories housed in the eight-storey building, constructed with substandard materials and in deviation from the approved design, is likely to forever remain a symbol of murderous human greed.

The reported insistence on the resumption of production and pressure on the workers to report for work, by the owners of Rana Plaza and the apparel factories therein on the false assurance that it was safe to go in and work, a day after cracks had developed in some pillars of the building prompting the local administration to advise its temporary closure and the branch of a private bank and some shops to relocate, essentially made it a mass murder, and not just an industrial disaster.

Yet, one year on, little progress has been made to have the owner of Rana Plaza and owners of the five apparel factories probed, prosecuted and punished on the charge of culpable homicide.

Regrettably still, the survivors of the Rana Plaza collapse, many of them disabled for life, and relatives of those killed in the disaster, have not been comprehensively compensated as yet.
What’s worse, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association, an umbrella organisation for owners of apparel factories, pretends to have met its end of the bargain by contributing Tk 2 crore to the prime minister’s relief and welfare fund.
The Prime Minister’s Office has distributed some Tk 22 crore in what the rights groups rightly say emergency relief, the families of the deceased and injured workers do not know even if and when they will get long-term compensation.
Also typically, the international buyers of Bangladeshi apparel products have talked tall but delivered little in terms of funding for compensation and rehabilitation of the victims and their dependents.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Rana Plaza survivors still getting free treatment from CRP:

The Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) has been providing treatment to the critically injured survivors of the Rana Plaza building collapse.

“We have so far received some 502 seriously injured victims, and around 50 per cent of them are still getting our services, especially physiotherapy from our centre” said an official at the CRP centre.

The CRP has been supporting the injured victims since the accident providing them costly medical treatments, mostly funded by local and international donors worth almost Tk 32.5 million.
Many victims getting treatment at CRP have lost their limbs.
read more. & see video interview.
FE bd daily star bd

* Can we evolve? :

The most encouraging outcome of this tragedy has been the national outpouring of support

A year on since the worst industrial disaster in Bangladesh’s history, the deadliest garments accident in history, and the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern times; the only questions that really need asking are, what have we learnt, and what are we doing about it?

The hyperbolic, and patently exaggerated fears of imminent ruin by garment-owners, their threats about the collapse of the national economy, and their insistence that they are “commercially important people” and therefore above reproach have been heard.

The violent demonstrations for better wages and conditions by workers and their support networks, the allegation of sabotage, and the police action against them have been seen.
The Sohel Ranas and the Murad Jungs, the government’s impotence against them and its inability to reel in unethical operators in the industry as well as their own ranks have been exposed. After it’s all been taken into account we are left with a few simple yet inevitable conclusions.

Our economy is in desperate need of diversification. It can no longer be reliant on a competitive advantage that is based on a race to the bottom for cheaper labour.
|This has proven to put lives at risk, and will be untenable in the future as the cost of living drives up wages.
It is not only unethical, but makes bad business sense and will leave Bangladesh hostage to an exploitative economic order that belongs in the Middle Ages. We need industries that produce goods that are higher up the value chain and workers that have the skills to produce them.

The government must be able to regulate the sector, and all sectors much better. While small government may be better for business, no government is surely catastrophic.
Not enforcing building codes, safety standards, and fairness for workers will eventually lead to a “disabled” environment that will drive away investors.
This is a concrete social obligation that is non-negotiable.

The industry must weed out rogue traders and insist on better standards from their members. Compliant factories and businessmen should no longer have to bear the brunt for the negligence of their non-compliant co-industrialists.

There must be measures within the industry and in the BGMEA to make sure they are not all painted with the same brush. This is their own responsibility and it will not do to cry foul when they are lumped together, unless they do anything to stand apart themselves.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Tragedy, forever:

It will remain with us for ages to come and fester like some mysterious disease to remind us of our shameful lust, greed, nonchalance and brutality with which we treated our key export earners.

Those of us who covered the tragedy of Rana Plaza a year ago will never forget the screams of the workers stuck inside that hunk of a collapsed building.

The images are so raw and vivid –  the concrete slabs impaling the heart of the nation; the crumpled bodies hanging high on the ground and being ignored by the helpless rescuers who cannot reach there; the corpses piling on the ground — one particular corpse looking grotesquely bloated because it has simply been squashed into a two-feet chunk of meat; the helplessness of the fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers all running towards the collapsed building with pictures of their loved ones in hand; the long nights filled with terrible cries for help coming from the bottom of a hell. It was a terrible syncopation of death and disaster.

But Rana Plaza will remain with us for many other reasons too. It will remind us of how a nation came together at a crucial time to help humanity.
There are snapshots that will keep on making us proud – the hospitals, Enam Hospital in particular, and the doctors scrambling to save every broken soul carted in, the thousands of volunteers – simple students, workers, rickshawpullers — who actually defied death to reach every nook and corner of the concrete jungle even before the trained rescuers could go in and drag out the trapped ones; the pharmaceutical companies rushing medicines to the hospitals free of cost; the big infrastructure companies mobilizing their cranes and equipment which otherwise were not available with the fire department to pull apart the slabs; the army officers and jawans working night and day with their equipment.
The scenes are so many and one cannot chart them all in a single write-up.
read more.
daily star bd

* SKOP wants punishment for Rana Plaza owner:

Leaders of Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad, a combine of 13 labour rights bodies, on Wednesday at a rally in the capital demanded exemplary punishment for the owner of Rana Plaza and owners of the garment factories housed in the building.

SKOP organised the protests in front of the National Press Club, to commemorate the deaths of more than 1,100 workers killed in Rana Plaza collapse at Savar Bus on April 24, 2013.
Labour leader Delwar Hossain in the programme demanded increased compensation for the affected workers and called on the government to ensure safety of workers at workplaces.
SKOP called on the government to take steps to implement trade unionism in the garment and other factories.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Rana Plaza, One Year on: Brands still Failing Survivors & Victim’s Families:

As events take place around the world to remember those who died and were injured, campaigners demand brands PAY UP

A year to the day after the collapse of Rana Plaza brands who were sourcing from factories in the building have failed to provide the adequate funding to ensure all the survivors and the families of the 1,138 who were killed are able to receive payments to cover loss of income and medical expenses.

Despite a groundbreaking agreement between brands, the government of Bangladesh, employers, international and national unions and NGOs to develop an inclusive, transparent and ILO-recognised compensation programme for Rana Plaza victims, known as the_ Arrangement, the voluntary Donor Trust Fund set up to take the donations remains woefully underfunded.

A year after the collapse brands and retailers have contributed or committed just US$ 15 million to the Trust Fund, just one third of the US$40million needed.

“Brands are failing workers a second time,” says Ineke Zeldenrust from Clean Clothes Campaign, “first they failed to ensure the factories they bought from were safe, and now they are failing the survivors and the families of those who lost loved ones, by not contributing significantly to the Donor Trust Fund.
Agreement on the total amount needed to provide compensation according to ILO standards was reached between all the parties involved in the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee, including the brands. But now, failing to adequately contribute, brands are making the workers suffer again.”

Marking the first anniversary of the collapse, organisations including the Asia Floor Wage Alliance, Clean Clothes Campaign, Human Rights Watch, IndustriALL Global Union, International Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network, and UNI Global Union will be holding vigils, rallies and events in over 20 cities worldwide; including demonstrations in front of stores in Toronto, New York, Antwerp and Istanbul, debates on the impact of the disaster on the fashion industry in Melbourne and The Hague; and in Bangladesh workers and union members will be holding memorial events and protests including a human chain at the site of the collapsed building in
Dhaka.
(…)

“In order to ensure the full US$40 million is reached, we also call upon the Bangladesh government and employers to increase their donations, and the European and US governments and the EU to take immediate measures to ensure brands from their countries pay what is necessary into the fund.”
says Ms. Zeldenrust.

The Donor Trust Fund is open for voluntary donations, and is being overseen by the International Labour Organisation as an independent chair.
|The claims process began in Bangladesh on March 24th, and work is ongoing to
ensure all those who lost a loved one or were themselves trapped in the collapsed building receive adequate compensation.
However as Dr. Mojtaba Kazazi, the Executive Commissioner of the Arrangement explains “If funds [are] not available then…we haven’t made a service to these people … it will not be a good situation.”

Clean Clothes Campaign and our partners call on all those involved in the garment industry in Bangladesh to pay up and show, on the first year anniversary of the worst industrial disaster to hit the garment industry, that they will not let the survivors and victims families suffer further.
read more. &read more. & read more.
Site

* Factory owners urged to compensate victims:

20140424 DAILYSTAR candle-rana-plaza
Several hundred people including victim families, injured workers of Rana Plaza collapse remembered their dear ones by lighting candle at Savar Rana Plaza site yesterday evening. Labour rights organisations arranged the programme. A year ago on April, 24 over 1,136 people died in the incident of Rana Plaza collapse. Photo: Star

Garment factory owners and their associations were urged to come forward to compensate the victims of Rana Plaza collapse at a human chain yesterday.

IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC), the local chapter of the IndustriALL Global Union that represents 50 million workers in 140 countries, organised the programme at the site of the collapse in Savar on the outskirts of the capital.

The organisation’s Secretary General Roy Ramesh Chandra said the victims and their families were yet to get any compensation though one year had been elapsed.
He said the families had been undergoing a tough time since the collapse.
The garment factories housed at Rana Plaza used to prepare clothes for more than 29 brands, but only 15 buyers have agreed to compensate, he said.

Several hundred victims and their relatives took part in the programme.
Labour leaders Abu Taher, Nurunnahar, Nurul Islam, among others, spoke.
Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24, 2013, leaving more than 1,100 dead and many hundreds with devastating injuries.
to read.
daily star bd

* Retailers shy away from compensation:

All but one of the 29 international retailers that sourced from factories housed at Rana Plaza are yet to donate any money to the trust fund for victims of the building collapse.

So far, only $15 million has been collected in the trust fund managed by the International Labour Organisation against the required amount of $40 million. Of the 29 retailers, only British retailer Primark has put in $10 million.
Roy Ramesh Chandra, general secretary of the local arm of IndustriALL, a global union federation, which initiated the trust fund to compensate the victims according to ILO Convention 121, said another 14 retailers have agreed to contribute to the trust fund but have not yet.
As per ILO Convention 121, a dead worker’s family is due to receive nearly Tk 29 lakh and each of the permanently disabled and injured workers Tk 42 lakh and Tk 14 lakh respectively.
He said the ILO started giving out compensations from the trust fund yesterday; Tk 50,000 for each of the victims was dispatched in the first phase.
In addition to the 29 retailers, IndustriALL also wrote to the 150 signatories of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh for their benevolent contribution to the fund.
“We will continue our campaign on both the domestic and international front until all retailers contribute to the fund.”
read more.
daily star bd

* The aftermath of disaster:

Some constructive steps were taken in the last one year, but compensation still remains elusive

No event in recent memory has drawn so much attention to Bangladesh from all corners of the world as did the collapse of the Rana Plaza building — the worst disaster in the garment industry history — on this day last year.

The haunting images of the despondent rubble of the unauthorised eight-storey building brought out a public outrage against the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ label, not seen before in the Western world.
The indignation though switched the government, garment factory owners and international retailers in to a pause for thought.

Now, everyone is convinced that business cannot go on as before and the poor workers cannot continue to jeopardise their lives and wellbeing any longer — for the sake of lining the pockets of factory owners and retailers.
Indeed, they have taken some constructive steps, all with the eye to ensuring that another catastrophic collapse or fire never takes place again.
First off was the inspection drive undertaken by the government and Western retailers to check the plants for structural and fire safety.
The exercise started in November last year, and so far 900 factories have been examined.
read more.
daily star bd

* ONE YEAR AFTER RANA PLAZA TRAGEDY: Wide gap between commitments and delivery persists: CPD:

Centre for Policy Dialogue, a civil society think-tank has urged the authorities to fulfil their commitments to help the victims of Rana Plaza tragedy and their families.

The call came at a keynote paper presented at a seminar to mark the first anniversary of the worst industrial disaster of the modern world that killed 1,134 garment workers and left many injured and jobless.
Based on a study the paper was presented by CPD additional research director Khondaker Golam Moazzem.
It said both the government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association have fallen behind in meeting their pledges.
It said the government should fulfil its pledges regarding financial support, treatment facilities and legal measures, while the BGMEA should provide salaries and dues of missing workers, compensation for the victims and their families, reemployment of the survivors.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Promises not kept, mostly:

States third monitoring report of CPD; tragedy-struck families live on in uncertainty

Families of the injured and dead in the Rana Plaza building collapse are leading a life of uncertainty as the government, garment factory owners and international brands have failed to honour their commitments.

A wide gap exists between the commitments made when the building caved in Savar and the delivery of those promises even today, when the country and many international organisations observe the tragedy’s first anniversary.

“Despite various initiatives at national and international levels, the victims and their families are still in a vulnerable state,” said the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in its third monitoring report since the disaster took.

“With passing of the first year, the need to fulfil those commitments has become urgent,” said KG Moazzem, additional research director of CPD.
The disclosures came at a dialogue, ‘One Year after the Rana Plaza Tragedy: Where Do We Stand? the Victims, the Sector and the Value Chain’, at Brac Centre Inn in Dhaka yesterday.
CPD, in association with 14 civil society think-tanks, rights groups and newspapers, has been tracking progress on various initiatives related to the collapse of Rana Plaza that housed five garment factories.
read more.
daily star bd

* Over Tk 23cr spent so far- Donation Tk 127cr:

The government has so far spent Tk 23.55 crore for the victims of Rana Plaza collapse from the prime minister’s relief fund since the worst-ever industrial tragedy of the country occurred exactly a year ago.

Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar revealed this at an event in the capital yesterday, adding that each of the families of 962 workers, who died in the tragedy, received financial assistance ranging between Tk 1 lakh and Tk 5 lakh from the fund.
“We admit that this compensation is far less than they require,” he said while speaking at the event organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) to publish a report titled “One Year after the Rana Plaza Tragedy: Where Do We Stand? the Victims, the Sector and the Value Chain” at Brac Centre Inn.

In the programme, Shipar raised the death toll from the tragedy to 1,135 as a skull had recently been found at the collapse site.
Different organisations and companies from home and abroad have donated Tk 127 crore to the fund for the restitution of the victims.
Shipar said 36 critically injured workers have been given Tk 10 lakh to Tk 15 lakh each from the fund.
However, the figure does not match with that provided by the CPD study.
read more.
daily star bd

* CPD recommends commission for Rana Plaza victims:

The Centre for Policy Dialogue yesterday suggested the government establish a national commission with strong executive authority to solve the problems affecting the Rana Plaza victims and the garment sector as a whole.

Rehman Sobhan, chairman of the local think-tank, said the commission would be headed by a high-powered person with other responsible people from within and outside the government, particularly from the civil society.
“The commission will have full executive authority and not just oversight responsibility. It will discharge duties on a full-time basis,” he said during a dialogue on the Rana Plaza tragedy, at the Brac Centre Inn in Dhaka.

Sobhan said the victims would be able to contact the commission to inform about their problems. “The commission will immediately act to solve the problem.”
The noted economist also said the commission would take steps for the better of the entire garment industry.
Sobhan also said there should be full transparency and accountability about the funds being mobilised in the name of Rana Plaza victims from both domestic and international sources.
He urged the civil society to ensure that the voices of workers are heard if the government fails to deliver on its responsibilities.
read more.
daily star bd

* BB working to create jobs for Rana Plaza volunteers:

The central bank has taken an initiative to provide Rana Plaza volunteers with jobs at various banks and financial institutions.

A database of the volunteers along with their curriculum vitae is being prepared and will be shared with different banks and financial institutions, Bangladesh Bank said in a statement yesterday.
The BB will then take measures to provide jobs to the volunteers, it said.
The central bank has already provided honourary certificates and cash Tk 5,000 to each of the 135 volunteers selected from a list prepared by the armed forces, it said.
read more.
daily star bd

* Rana Plaza collapse survivors at risk of destitution: HRW:

Non-payment of compensation by brands

Survivors of the Rana Plaza building collapse are at serious risk of destitution after one year of the tragedy mainly due to non-payment of the compensation by the brands, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Wednesday.

“One year after Rana Plaza collapse, far too many victims and their families are at serious risk of destitution,” the HRW said in a statement, quoting its deputy Asia director Phil Robertson.

International garment brands should be helping the injured and the dependents of dead workers who manufactured their clothes,” he added.

Taking this into consideration, the HRW also called upon the international garment brands to speed up their support to make these victims’ fund work to help thousands of people affected by this disaster.

“Companies should recognise this fund is the most appropriate mechanism for ensuring that the right help goes to the right people, since it has been set up by all the relevant stakeholders: the Bangladesh government, industry bodies, the ILO, trade unions, NGOs and some of the brands themselves,” Robertson was quoted as saying.
read more. & read more. & read more.
FE bd daily star bd DHAKATRIBUNE

* Towards a safer garment industry in Bangladesh:

On 24 April 2013, the garment factory building “Rana Plaza” collapsed, killing more than 1,100 workers and injuring 2,500.

One year after the global garment industry’s worst-ever industrial accident, the ILO together with the government of Bangladesh, employers, trade unions and the international community are working together to make sure it never happens again.

Rana Plaza: Never again
It was a wake up call heard around the world, and significant steps are being taken to address the root causes of the Rana Plaza disaster to ensure Bangladesh’s garment industry can provide jobs in a safe working environment for its employees.
read & see more.
ILO

___

* The Sad First Anniversary of Rana Plaza:

Exactly one year ago, we received a call from one of our friends in Savar that a building is collapsing with a very loud noise. We were surprised, “what building is it?” we asked, and she replied “its some Rana Plaza, and it had several garment factories in it, I think there will be casualties.”

We rushed to the site, and hours later we found ourselves digging into the rubble with unknown faces from nearby crowed to other garment workers.
We could hear screams coming from within the rubble, and screams coming from the crowed.
All we could see was stares of overwhelming shock, despair in the faces of the family members of the victims trapped inside who had been rushing in to the spot, law enforcers and army personnel filling the place and pushing everyone away.

That day was a catastrophe, and it is now behind us. We pray and hope that such a terrorizing experience never occurs again in any country of the world.
The stench of rotting human corpses linger on to this place just like the haunting memories which doesn’t seem to heal.
Thousands died and Thousands wounded – Rana Plaza was truly the biggest industrial disaster in modern history.

Today, when these victims need the brands to be beside them, the brands have done too little and they are too late.
A year is a long time for a poor life clinging on to hope after rising through something like Rana Plaza; the hope centered around compassion from those who has never been directly held responsible for their actions abroad by their governments.

In unison with millions of garment workers, and with the victims themselves, we echo the demand of a proper compensation for Rana Plaza Victims by the brands who have not yet accumulated a small amount from their immense profits for these workers. We respect Primark for its leadership in creating a good example, however we are yet to see others following that lead.
read more.

* 1st anniversary of Rana Plaza Tragedy:

323 families yet to receive remains of dead, ‘missing’ workers

One year has elapsed since the tragedy befell them, but at least 323 families are still in the dark whether they will get any remain of the unidentified and ‘missing’ bodies of their relatives.

And who cares for those who were severely injured in the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013.
They see dark all around as they are facing multifarious burdens of loss of income and lack of means for the treatment.
Today (Thursday) is the first anniversary of the worst-ever tragedy in the country’s multi-billion dollar ready-made garment (RMG) industry.
read more.
UNB

* When all hell broke loose:

The collapse that claimed more than 1,100 lives, is easily the deadliest ever industrial disaster in the history of human civilisation

Exactly a year ago on April 24, residents of Savar, a crowded industrial suburb 20km away from Dhaka, began their usual working day in the morning.

It was a little different from any other summer morning because of several thousand anxious readymade garment workers. That morning, they were hesitant about beginning their day’s work in the apparel factories housed in the Rana Plaza.

In just a year, tens of millions of people around the world got familiar with the name Rana Plaza because of its horrific collapse on April 24, 2013.

The collapse that claimed more than 1,100 lives, is easily the deadliest ever industrial disaster in the history of human civilisation. It pushed the 1911 New York factory fire that killed 146 workers, to the second place.

The day of the catastrophic collapse of Rana Plaza that housed five garment factories who made clothes for European and American consumers, thousands of workers were unwilling to get into the factory because they knew that a crack had developed in the building on the previous day.

The anxiety remained unnoticed by not only the thousands of other residents in the area, but also was completely ignored by the authorities of the building and the factories.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Rana Plaza tragedy: Sad saga of maimed and missing:

One year has elapsed since the tragedy befell on them, but at least 323 families are still in the dark whether they will get any remain of the unidentified and ‘missing’ bodies of their relatives. And who cares of those severely injured in the Rana Plaza collapse!

They see dark all around as they are facing multifarious burdens of loss of income and lack of means for the treatment, let alone the standard compensation and rehabilitation.

Of the bodies recovered during the rescue operation at Rana Plaza, 105 still remained unidentified, but the number of families claiming the bodies by submitting DNA samples is almost three-time higher, according to the National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).

The laboratory’s National Technical Advisor, Sharif Akhteruzzaman, on April 17 told UNB, that 540 families had submitted DNA samples against the 322 bodies which could not be identified during the rescue operation.

So far, the laboratory has been able to identify 206 bodies by cross-checking the DNA profiles of the bodies and the claimant families, he said, adding that there were 11 ‘duplicate matches’ of the DNA profiles of the claimant families.
The number of unidentified bodies now stands at 105 and the number of families still claiming the remains of their dear ones is 323.
read more.
UNB

* ‘Ideal procedure was not maintained in identifying Rana Plaza victims’:

More than 100 victims remain unidentified after a year

Faced with an industrial disaster of an unprecedented scale, it was not possible to follow the ideal procedure of using DNA tests to identify the Rana Plaza victims, the chief of the national DNA lab has told the Dhaka Tribune.

Although more than 100 victims remain unidentified after a year, the identifications could still be made if the government took initiative to collect DNA samples from relatives of all the victims, he added.

Professor Dr Sharif Akteruzzaman, head of the National DNA Profiling Laboratory at the Dhaka Medical College (DMC), said they had received 322 DNA samples from unidentified bodies as well as collecting 556 samples from families of the victims. So far, 206 of the bodies have been identified in three phases, he added.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* ‘Authorities responsible for Rana Plaza disaster’:

Authorities of Bangladesh are primarily responsible for the death of over a thousand workers in the Rana Plaza collapse, a federation of human rights organisations has said.

“The Bangladesh authorities failed in their obligation to protect workers,” International Federation for Human Rights, FIDH, said in its report marking the Rana Plaza disaster on Thursday.

The report slammed Rajdhani Unnayan Kotripokkho (Rajuk) for allowing the Rana Plaza structure “that defied safety codes and built and expanded without a permit.”

“But no action was taken by the Rajuk in this regard,” the report said.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Life has not been the same for all:

Media spotlight helped Reshma to lead a comfortable life while many others who were traumatised by the deadly collapse, fully ignored and had to choose prostitution for a living

For Reshma, who survived a 17-day nightmare under the rubbles of Rana Plaza, media spotlight has fetched a comfortable life.

But badly ignored Sultana and Shanenur, who were equally traumatised by the deadly collapse, had to choose prostitution for a living.

The miracle girl’s near-impossible story of survival has put her under media spotlight and landed her quite a comfortable job at a five-star hotel in the capital.

But her fellow survivors came back to a different reality. They have not ended up quite as fortunate. Their agonies and stories still remain unheard.

The survivors did not get much financial help – from the government and other organisations. Yet, they cannot afford to be without work for long.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Dead mates have not left miracle girl Reshma :

Reshma could not keep contact with her fellow unfortunate workers and their families who lost their near and dear ones due to her busy schedule in the new job in Dhaka

Reshma Aktar, the miracle girl, rescued from under the debris 17 days after the Rana Plaza collapse would not like to relive those terrible memories as it sends a chill of fear down her spine.

“Sometimes my dead colleagues walk down my memory lane. I have recurring nightmare of those days I spent in the pitch dark of the mangled and twisted wreckage of the caved-in building. Still I cannot switch off lights in my room at night.”

Reshma suddenly switched her focus to her new life, dreams and expectations over phone.

She urged the government to stand by the side of those ill-fated people and she herself wantsto do something for them but she does not know how to do that.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* No comprehensive list of Rana Plaza victims yet:

Still there is an utter confusion over the total number of missing workers

Even though one year has already elapsed, there is no fully comprehensive list of the Rana Plaza victims while many of them are awaiting compensation.

Still there is an utter confusion over the total number of missing workers, buried after identification, rescued and injured workers because of lack of a complete report by the government.

According to the Labour Ministry, 180 people were still unaccounted for. But the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) report said it was 88 while Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) put the figure at 379 and Rana Plaza Coordination Cell at 146.

The ministry said 127 people were buried unidentified, while the CPD said it was 27, ActionAid 137 and Rana Plaza Coordination Cell 136.
read more. & read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE NEWAGEnew

* Rana Plaza victims are still waiting for compensation:

Pakhi Begum, who worked as a sewing operator at Ether Tex, had lost her two legs in the worst factory disaster on April 24 last year

The family members of Rana Plaza victims especially those who lost their lives in the building collapse are still fighting for compensation from the government as well as the authorities concerned.      

“It is better to die. How I can maintain my family with a scanty amount of money I have received from the government and buyers as compensation for the death of my only son,” said Md Akmal Gazi, father of Rabiul Islam who was killed in the Rana Plaza building collapse last year.

“Since my son had obtained bachelor’s degree, I hoped that he would take the helm of my family. Even though he did it, the building collapse had shattered my dream,” Akmal said in an emotion-choked voice.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

 ——update 19.30h loc.time—–

* Hundreds gather at Rana Plaza tragedy site:

Hundreds of people have thronged at the site of Rana Plaza tragedy in Savar, to pay respect to the victims of the biggest tragedy of the country, marking the first anniversary of the incident.

People from all walks of life, including family members of the victims, have gathered at the spot with eyes full of tears demanding punishment to the culprits and hoping such incident would never take place again.

The family members of many missing victims were also seen there, holding the pictures of the victims whose bodies have not been found yet and have not got their dues due to not having legal proof that they worked in the building.
read more. & read more. & read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE bdnews24 FE bd

* Doa Mahfl held for Rana Plaza victims :

A Doa Mahfil (special prayers) was held at BGMEA Bhaban in the city on Thursday seeking eternal peace for those who died in the multi-storey ‘Rana Plaza’ collapse at Savar one year ago.

Munajat was also offered to Almighty Allah for early recovery and rehabilitation of the injured and welfare of the victims’ families. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) organised the programmes at its headquarters at BGMEA Bhaban in Karwan Bazar in the morning.

Mawlana Md. Salahuddin, Imam of the Baitul Mokarram National Mosque, led the special prayers which started around 11:30am.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, State Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and some government officials and business leaders joined the programme.
Officials and employees of BGMEA, BKMEA and BTMEA were also present. More than 1100 garment workers were killed and around 2000 injured with many missing when the nine-storey building collapsed at Savar town on April 24, 2013, according to a news agency.
to read. & read more. & read more.
FE bd BANGLA NEWS24 DHAKATRIBUNE

* Huge crowd on highway in Savar:

20140424 BANGLA24 Rana-Plaza-bg

One year has passed since the Rana Plaza, the eight-storey building, collapsed where some 1136 workers died and 2,438 injured people were rescued.

Thousands of mournful people gathered in front of that cursed Rana Plaza on Thursday, remembering the deadliest garment-factory accident in history, the painful battle.

Different Socio-cultural organizations along with political figures, service holders, students and the families of the victims gathered there. The highway next to Rana Plaza was blocked for the crowd.

They thronged there with many demands for the victims and their families and showed their painful admiration to the strong hands of the nation.

Garment Workers Unity Forum staged a demonstration to meet their 9-point demand. Moreover, they formed a human chain on a demand of adequate compensation for the worst sufferers of Rana Plaza.

The President of the organization Nazma Akter said that one year has passed the deadliest accident happened and the workers have not got enough compensation yet. “The government should take proper initiatives in this issue otherwise we will stage further protest,” she added.
read more.
BANGLA NEWS24

* Victims’ relatives block highway for 4hrs-  RMG workers’ bid to lay siege to BGMEA Bhaban foiled:

A year into the deadliest factory collapse, garment workers and relatives of
Rana Plaza victims blocked the Dhaka-Aricha highway in Savar for four hours
today demanding capital punishment to the building owner, Sohel Rana.

Meanwhile, workers of different garments and members of various workers’ organisations have thronged Rana Plaza site since 5:00am and placed wreaths at the monument ‘Protibade Protirodhe’ marking the first anniversary of the disaster, reports our Savar correspondent.

The monument was built after the deadliest collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24 that left 1,135 workers dead and thousands injured to honour the victims.
Rana, who is now behind the bar, is blamed for forcing the workers to enter the factories on that day though big cracks appeared in the building.

Around 40,000 members of at least 20 pro-workers organisations and victims’ relatives staged a sit-in in front of Rana Plaza site around 8:00am demanding death sentence to Rana and seeking financial assistance from the government.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd daily star bd

* One year of Rana Plaza tragedy today:

The nation mourns Thursday the first anniversary of Rana Plaza tragedy that left 1,133 garment workers dead and more than 2,500 injured while at least 800 children orphaned.
More than 140 bodies still remain to be identified one year after the tragedy.

Even a year after the Rana Plaza devastation, government authorities, factory owners and labour organisations have failed to arrive at a consensus over the actual number of those missing in the building collapse in Savar. “According to the statistics compiled by various labour unions, around 120 workers still remain untraced,” Sirajul Islam Rony, president of Bangladesh National Garment Workers Employees League, told The Independent.

However, leaders of BGMEA, an association of factory owners, claimed that only 40 to 50 workers remained missing.
read more.
INDEPENDENT

* The Rana Plaza claims process explained:

Dr. Kazazi is the Chief Commissioner of the Rana Plaza Arrangement, with a team of Commissioners he is overseeing the claims process in Bangladesh.

WATCH THE VIDEO

Dr. Mojtaba Kazazi has a long history of working on compensation for victims of terrible disasters.  He has brought his many years of experience to the Rana Plaza Arrangement process and is now working in Dhaka, along with a team of claims commissioners to oversee the administration of the claims process and ensure that every family of the dead and every survivor receives the financial support they need.

In this short film he explains the process and the steps that are being taken.
to read.
Site INDUSRIall

* Statement on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse:

Remember the victims of Rana Plaza.
April 24th 2014 will mark the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse. Our hearts go out to all the people in Bangladesh for the loss, suffering, and grief this tragedy has brought to the families of the victims, the injured, and the nation as a whole.

We remember the 1.134 people who have lost their lives, the more than 2.000 people injured, and the family members that have to cope with reminders of their loss and feel the impact of this terrible tragedy every day.

Since the launch of the Bangladesh Accord on the 15th of May 2013, international brands, trade unions and labour organisations, in close cooperation with the local constituents, have embarked on a journey towards a safe Bangladeshi Garment industry. Our common purpose is to enable a working environment in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses, or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures. Together with all relevant stakeholders, we know we can – and must – change the system forever.

The Accord is moving ahead energetically, with a program of unprecedented scale, independence, rigor and transparency. More than 250 factories have been inspected for fire, electrical and structural safety, and remediation measures are being taken.  In eight factories, Accord inspections led the authorities to temporarily evacuate buildings until adequate structural safety could be assured and the lives of workers are no longer endangered.
read more.
BANGLADESHACCORD

* Rana Plaza A look into garment sector one year after the worst workplace tragedy:

Rana Plaza will remind us how a nation united at a crucial time to help humanity.

It will remain with us for ages to come and fester like some mysterious disease to remind us of our shameful lust, greed, nonchalance and brutality with which we treated our key export earners.

Those of us who have covered the tragedy of Rana Plaza a year ago, will never forget the screams of the workers stuck inside that hunk of a collapsed building.

The images are so raw and vivid –  the concrete slabs impaling the heart of the nation; the crumpled bodies hanging high on the ground and being ignored by the helpless rescuers who cannot reach there; the corpses piling on the ground — one particular corpse looking grotesquely bloated because it has simply been squeezed to a two-feet meat chunk; the helplessness of the fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers all running towards the collapsed building with pictures of their loved ones in hand; the long nights filled with terrible cry for help coming from the bottom of a hell.

But Rana Plaza will remain with us for many other reasons too. It will remind us how a nation united at a crucial time to help humanity.

There are snapshots that will keep on making us proud – the hospitals, Enam Hospital in particular, and the doctors scrambling to save every broken soul carted in, the thousands of volunteers – simple students, workers, rickshawpullers — who actually defied death to reach every nook and corner of the concrete jungle even before the trained rescuers could go and dragged out the trapped ones; the pharmaceutical companies rushing medicines to the hospital free of cost; the big infrastructure companies mobilising their cranes and equipment which otherwise were not available with the fire department to pull apart the slabs; the army officers and jawans working night and day with their equipment.
The scenes are so many and one cannot chart them all in one writing.
read & see more.
daily star bd

* Bangladesh marks factory collapse anniversary:

The disaster has led to more safety inspections and the closure of some factories.

The families of those who died in Bangladesh’s worst industrial accident have been holding a rally on the eve of the disaster’s first anniversary.

More than 1,000 people, mostly garment workers, were killed when the eight-storey Rana Plaza collapsed last year.
see more. (video report).
aljazeera

* A year on from Rana Plaza, families still await millions in compensation:

Nazma’s husband was one of 1334 people who died when the Rana Plaza building collapsed a year ago.

When ITV News last spoke to her in October she was pregnant, she has since given birth to Jewel, who she named after her husband.
Financial support has started to come through but it’s from a confusing array of sources and has not been enough for the two of them to live on.

“So much help is coming from so many places…but I will not work in the garments industry anymore.”
Nazma has received money from Primark (even though she didn’t make its clothes), from ActionAid, from a local school, from government and from the “official” Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund.
read & see more.(several video reports.)
ITV

* ILO to organise discussion in Geneva for Rana Plaza victims:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Bureau for Workers’ Activities will organise a panel discussion on 28 April, to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed 1138 workers and injured over 2000 others a year ago.

The penal discussions will be held at the ILO headquarters in Geneva on the day, which has been established by the International Labour Movement as “Workers’ Memorial Day”. The ILO has supported the move, and in 2003 declared it the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

By organising an event on this day, ILO wants to pay tribute to the memory of the Rana Plaza victims and to reflect on the roots and aftermath of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, according to a statement of the global worker rights watchdog.
read more.
BSS

* ‘Charge sheets of two Rana Plaza cases soon’:

Charge sheets of the rest two cases had already been filed

The charge sheets of the two cases out of four over Rana Plaza collapse incident will be filed very soon, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has said.

He has made the statement in a press briefing on the occasion of Rana Plaza anniversary at the secretariat on Thursday afternoon.
The minister said: “The charge sheets of the cases over Rana Plaza will be filed soon and the accused will be brought to justice.”
“A total of four cases had been filed over Rana Plaza incident. Of them, charge sheets of two cases had already been filed.”
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Police buy time for an accurate Rana Plaza charge sheet: Asaduzzaman Khan:

State minister for home Asaduzzaman Khan on Thursday said police was buying time to prepare an ‘accurate’ charge sheet on the collapse of the Rana Plaza that killed 1,135 apparel workers a year ago.

‘Police is delaying so that they can prepare an accurate charge sheet,’ he said while highlighting the activities of the home ministry on the devastating building collapse.
The home ministry arranged the press conference at the secretariat marking one year anniversary of the worst-ever industrial disaster in Bangladesh.
Asaduzzaman said police arrested 27 persons in connection with the building collapse.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

 ——update 23.30h loc.time—–

* Slow progress in compensating Rana Plaza victims annoys ILO:

A top official of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on Thursday expressed displeasure over the slow progress in compensating the Rana Plaza victims saying it will be a ‘shame’ for all the stakeholders.

“It’s very hard…very difficult to speak here today and say that the victims still can’t be compensated adequately,” said visiting ILO Deputy Director General for Field Operations and Partnerships Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo.
He was speaking at a function, titled ‘One Year after Rana Plaza: Progress and the way Forward’, at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the city.

Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Engr Khandker Mosharraf Hossain spoke at the event as the chief guest.
read more. & read more. & read more.
UNB NEWAGEnew INDEPENDENT

* Rana Plaza: A look back, and forward:

On the Anniversary of the Rana Plaza Tragedy…  It Did Not Have to Be Like This

It took the U.S. and European garment industry just 25 years of relentless outsourcing in search of the lowest wage and least regulation to arrive at the deadliest disaster in its history, when the Rana Plaza factory building collapsed in Bangladesh on April 24, 2013, killing 1,137 people, with some 200 to 300 still missing and over 1,000 seriously injured.

It was not always like this.  In fact, for some 50 years —— from 1938 to 1988 —— there were no sweatshops in the United States, because workers had legal rights and strong unions.
read more.
IGLHR

 * ‘We must never forget Rana Plaza victims’:

One year ago this day (April 24, 2013), the factory collapse in Rana Plaza cost over 1,100 people their lives. This needless tragedy must never be forgotten.

British lawmaker Rushanara Ali came up with the assertion, in a press release, on the 1st anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse which claimed the lives of 1100 people and injured thousands.

The release also said: “Workers in the Bangladesh garments industry, and worldwide, deserve the right to safety at work, as well as better conditions and pay. However, one year on, there is still so much that needs to be done. In particular, much more needs to be done for the families of those who died as well as the survivors.”
read more. & read more. & read more.
BANGLA NEWS24 UNB FE bd

* Rana Plaza Tragedy fails to draw USA attention:

Last year’s Rana Plaza disaster is the second deadliest incident in South Asia after Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in India`s Bhopal industrial accident, which killed nearly 2000.

The Rana Plaza disaster killed 1,136 and 2,438 workers had been rescued alive.
In order to assist the readymade garment (RMG) factories to recoup the loss owing to Rana Plaza accident, the Bangladesh government paid nearly 280 million taka to the victims and their surviving families while individuals and foundations paid nearly 15 million taka.

In addition, government reduced export tariff on RMG exports to 0.5% only.
Many EU countries under International Labour Organization (ILO) agreed to provide $24.5 million to the victims and also for improvement of safety and security of garment workplaces.

Bangladesh government also reduced import tariff on fire extinguishers and other equipments to help improve safety and security of factories.
The Garments Manufacturers and Owners Association (BGMEA) raised the minimum wages of garment workers by over 80% in one year.

Since 2009, garment workers’ wages increased by almost 300% in Bangladesh from $23 to $68 now.
In New York, the Optimist, a tax-exempt 501(C)(3) organization collected sponsors to help educate sons and daughters of Rana Plaza victims.

Among many others, from school children to government agencies came forward to help Bangladesh Rana Plaza victims.

While talking to banglanews24.com, Dr. Abdul Momen, ambassador and permanent representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations said it was expected that USA would also rise to occasion and would grant `tariff-free access of Bangladesh garments to USA` to help the 4 million poor women and girl workers in Bangladesh garments sector.

Unfortunately, they did not rise to the occasion to help humanity, the distressed and the vulnerable as well, Dr Momen regrets.
read more.
BANGLA NEWS24

* Rana Plaza survivors leading miserable life: BNP:

Claiming that most of the workers who survived the Rana Plaza disaster are leading a jobless miserable life, BNP on Thursday demanded their immediate employment.

“Over 70 per cent of the workers, who were injured and crippled or survived the Rana Plaza incident, are leading a jobless-life. We urge the government and BGMEA to generate employment for them,” said BNP standing committee member Rafiqul Islam Miah.
read more.
FE bd

* Govt misusing fund raised for Rana Plaza victims: BNP:

Noting that Rana Plaza incident is tantamount to a massacre, BNP on Thursday accused the government of misusing the huge fund raised for helping the victims’ family members.

“We know Rana Plaza owner is an Awami League leader. We also know the workers had forcefully been taken into the building to join works despite repeated warnings as it developed cracks. So, it’s tantamount to deliberate annihilation,” said BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
He further said, “The huge amount of money raised for helping the family members of those killed and ensuring better treatment of those injured is being misused.”
read more. & read more. & read more.
FE bd  daily star bd UNB

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20140425

————updated 09.00h loc.time——-

* A saga of heartrending stories :

20140425 DHAKATRIBUNE people-saga-to-rana-zakirWhat made yesterday unique was the number of people that gathered at the site in Savar 

Yesterday was different from just any other day at the Rana Plaza collapse site not because people came to pay visits as relatives of dead victims rummaging through the rubbles is a pretty much normal scene.

What made yesterday unique was the number of people that gathered at the site in Savar – some 20km off Dhaka. Hundreds of people gathered on the first anniversary of the deadly collapse that ranks top among the deadliest of industrial disasters in human history.

Among those hundreds were those who lost their dear ones in the ruins; there were others who once worked with those who were killed in the collapse; and there were those who were lucky to survive the tragedy that claimed a staggering 1,136 lives.

Some injured victims came on wheelchairs; some with crutches. Some relatives, who still have not traced their loved ones, came with the lost ones’ photographs, roaming around and asking people about their whereabouts.

Many people, both from the locality and outside, who volunteered and risked their own lives to rescue the trapped ones, could not keep away either; just like the way they could not hold themselves back when the disaster actually took place exactly a year ago.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Fateful April 24:

The catastrophic collapse of the Rana Plaza on April 24 a year back took lives of 1,136. Over 2,000 were injured – of them some have been rehabilitated in one way or another, and yet some are left with no choice but to suffer what fate brought to them.

In the last two days, the air at the site became heavy with wails of the relatives of the victims, their demands for justice and compensation. Commemorative programmes took place throughout the capital, especially at the Rana Plaza site and Jurain graveyard.
read & see more (photo report).
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Survivors’ trauma largely unaddressed:

Things get particularly difficult for people belonging to low income groups

Skin deep wounds are easy to heal – a simple amputation can ensure survival. But remedying invisible injuries that are rooted deep inside the psyche of human beings, especially those who have witnessed terrible disasters, are never so simple.

Things get particularly difficult for people belonging to low income groups such as the readymade garment workers, who used to make apparels for the factories housed by the fateful Rana Plaza. The fact that there is very little awareness and few treatment facilities in Bangladesh for mental disorders make things even more difficult.

The results are even more disastrous for these people, who struggle relentlessly to get rid of the poverty jinx. The government’s indifference towards such predicaments often results in triggering suicidal tendencies, leaving entire families in rags and many of them losing their livelihoods altogether.

Razibul Rahman Kari, 20, was a sewing machine operator in one of the factories inside the Rana Plaza. He was pinned by a heavy slab after the building came down.

A volunteer might have pulled him from under the rubble, but in his mind, he has never quite been out.

After he went home, he tried to break one of the walls in his room. When his mother would ask him to eat food, he would say he could not because he was trying to break the wall to rescue himself.

The young man also tried to kill himself twice.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Is the factory collapsea turning point?:

As the world commemorates the one-year anniversary of the deadly Rana Plaza factory building collapse in Bangladesh, an overriding question remains: What can be done to prevent such industrial accidents in the future, especially in emerging economies and business sectors like Bangladesh’s garment industry?

Many European and North American retailers, who depend on the Bangladeshi textile industry for their apparel, have responded to the factory collapse with their own worker safety initiatives. There have also been calls for consumers to consider the human cost behind that bargain-priced clothing we all demand.

At the same time, the media has picked up on the parallels between Rana Plaza and a similar disaster, a century earlier in New York City, when 146 people, mostly young immigrant women, were burned to death or forced to jump to their deaths after a fire swept through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. That 1911 tragedy gave new momentum to the US labour movement; it also introduced regulations and reforms for workplace conditions and safety.

But will Rana Plaza serve as a turning point for garment industry workers or another missed opportunity? “I think that this disaster was big enough proportions that it caught the attention of the world in the way that perhaps some of the smaller incidents of the past have not,” said Douglas Allen, director of the international MBA programme at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. “I know that it’s come up in conversations I’ve had with some of my MBA students in China as well.”
read more.
daily star bd

* Crisis seen as opportunity:

Stakeholders count on positive reforms

The word crisis when written in Chinese is composed of two characters — one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.

The narrative of the country’s garment sector following the Rana Plaza collapse last year could best be summed up by it.

The catastrophe, which claimed at least 1,135 lives and injured about 2,500, drew scorn from around the world, and the sector seemed to be on the brink of a pitfall.
But, remarkably, the harrowing debris of the eight-storey building went on to spark some constructive changes, which, if seen through, will secure a shining future for the sector.
“Rana Plaza was a wake-up call for all of us,” said Kutubuddin Ahmed, chairman of Envoy Group, a leading garment group, while welcoming the reforms that have been ushered in.
“We needed to bring those reforms a lot earlier for good business in future. But, we never gave priority to the workers’ welfare and safety. We always remained busy for expansion of our business,” he added.

Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said the reforms would create a positive branding for Bangladesh’s garment sector. “A new window of opportunity will be opened and we must exploit them.”
First amongst the reforms was the amendment of the labour law in July – within three months of the tragic event. The highlight of the amendment is the provision that grants garment workers the full freedom of association, in a bid to give them a louder voice to reject unsafe working conditions.
read more.
daily star bd

* Fashion Revolution Day: A year after Rana Plaza:

‘Tears in the Fabric,’ ‘Meet the Makers,’ ‘Labour behind the Label,’ ‘The Human Cost the Cloths you Wear on,” are the few headlines of many events, programmes or articles that have been observed or published throughout the world including Bangladesh.

These mark the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse near Dhaka that claimed over 1,100 lives and injured thousands more.
This is the worst industrial disaster in the history of the garment industry. Calling April 24 as ‘Fashion Revolution Day,’ organised by www.fashionrevolution.org, consumers in different parts of the world including New York and London were requested to wear their clothes that display slogan: ‘Who made your clothes?’

On April 24 2013, Rana Plaza, an eight-storey commercial building, collapsed in Savar, a sub-district in the greater Dhaka area.
The search for the dead ended on May 13 with the death toll of 1,129. Approximately 2,515 injured people were rescued alive from the debris of the building.
Several other major garment factory accidents occurred in Bangladesh before or after the Rana Plaza tragedy.
The collapse of the Spectrum sweater factory in 2005 killed 64 workers or the Tazreen Fashions fire, which killed 112 workers.
But the Savar tragedy has triggered widespread discussions about safety, security and the living standard of the workers, their wages, the responsibilities of the Bangladesh government to its main earning source, corporate social responsibility of the global supply chains and so on.

We mourned tragic deaths of the victims and observed April 24, now the symbol of significant and unnecessary risks that many garment workers in Bangladesh are forced to undertake in order to earn a living and support their families.
The question now is to be raised as to what actions or attempts we have collectively taken so far so that tragedies like Rana Plaza and Tazreen never happen again.
Or what have we done for the survivors and the families of those who died in those accidents?
According to research by the advocacy group International Labour Rights Forum, at least 1,800 garment workers were killed in factory fires and building collapses in Bangladesh since 2005.
read more.
FE bd

* Rana Plaza tragedy victims remembered:

People in their thousands thronged the Rana Plaza collapse site on Thursday remembering the victims through holding various programmes as the tragedy marked the first anniversary.

On this day in 2013, the worst-ever tragedy took place in the history of the country’s multi-billion dollar readymade garment sector when the multi-storey Rana Plaza came down crashing, killing 1,135 people, according to the latest official estimate.

Relatives of the victims, various organisations of garment workers as well as cross-section of people placed wreaths at the temporary altar built in front of the collapsed Rana Plaza.

Besides, rallies, human chains, discussions and processions were staged in the capital and on its outskirts Savar. Munajats were also offered seeking salvation of the deceased and wellbeing of the injured victims.
All the garment units at Savar and Ashulia remained closed on Thursday in memory of the building collapse victims.
read more.
UNB

* Retailers ‘failing victims’ a year after Rana Plaza disaster:

20140425 NEWAGE 2
A woman holds a placard showing her relative named Farzana, who was working in a garment factory at Rana Plaza during its collapse one year ago at Savar, still remains missing.
The photo was snapped on Thursday in front of a monument built at the site of the collapse in remembrance of the industrial disaster.
Thursday was the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse that left more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, dead and scores injured. A good number of people have been claiming that their relatives working in factories inside the Rana Plaza are still missing. — Sony Ramany

Western fashion brands faced pressure Thursday to honour promises to care for Bangladesh’s victims of the world’s worst garment factory accident, ahead of protests on the one-year anniversary of the disaster that cost 1,138 lives.

Workers are set to stage demonstrations in front of the site of the now infamous nine-storey Rana Plaza complex in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, which collapsed last April after a catastrophic structural failure.

‘Brands are failing workers a second time,’ Ineke Zeldenrust from the Amsterdam-based Clean Clothes Campaign pressure group said in a statement on Thursday.
‘First they failed to ensure the factories they bought from were safe, and now they are failing the survivors and the families of those who lost loved ones.’

As well as the dead, more than 2,000 were injured in an avoidable tragedy that focused attention on the lax safety standards and often abusive working conditions in the world’s second-biggest clothing producer.
The sector’s most deadly disaster ever shamed Western brands into launching new safety inspections and pushed Bangladesh’s government to increase wages and ensure the better enforcement of regulations.
But trade union group IndustriALL slammed retailers this week for making ‘woefully inadequate’ contributions to a proposed $40-million fund set up to compensate the families of the dead and the injured.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* BGMEA vows to compensate victims:

The three leading associations of the RMG sector – BGMEA, BKMEA and the BTMA – brought out a joint procession in the city yesterday, followed by prayers and a memorial service to observe the first anniversary of Rana Plaza tragedy.

They vowed not to see any catastrophe like the Rana Plaza collapse. Addressing the commemorating programme, BGMEA president Md Atiqul Islam said that his association would take responsibility of the families of Rana Plaza victims once the identity of victims was ascertained.
“The souls of Rana Plaza victims will rest in peace if we can ensure decent and safe workplace environment for their successors,” he said.

He urged everyone to find out and bring the orphans and helpless children of Rana Plaza victims to the BGMEA. “We have already taken the responsibility for the education of around 300 children and are ready to take more responsibility for the remaining ones,” he said.
The BGMEA is still working wholeheartedly to help the victim’s families. A ‘Special Cell for Rana Plaza’ at the BGMEA has been opened and it will remain open until every victim gets due compensation, he added.
read more.
INDEPENDENT

* Cops foil workers’ march to BGMEA:

Police yesterday foiled garments workers’ attempt to besiege the BGMEA headquarters in the capital’s Karwan Bazar, demanding death penalty for Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana and adequate compensations for the families of the deceased and injured workers.

Meanwhile, different garment workers and social organisations held demonstrations demanding exemplary punishment of the responsible persons, including Sohel, for the Rana Plaza tragedy last year that killed at least 1,135 workers and injured hundreds.
Garments Sramik Trade Union Kendra held a rally in front of the capital’s Jatiya Press Club. Later, they marched towards the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) building to encircle it.
But law enforcers cordoned off them on the road, halting vehicular movement for about 40 minutes before the marchers left the place.

“We prevented them suspecting that they might create chaos on the road,” said Ramna zone petrol inspector Shahidul Islam.
Addressing the rally in front of the Press Club, Manjurul Ahsan Khan, adviser of the Union, said the government was trying to protect the interests of the owners, not the workers.

“We demand publications of the list of donations to the prime minister’s fund that the government received to assist the Rana Plaza victims so far,” he said. “We want transparency and accountability of the fund to ensure adequate compensation for the victims.”  
read more.
daily star bd

* Govt misusing Rana Plaza fund: BNP:

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday accused Sheikh Hasina’s government of misusing huge sums of fund raised to rehabilitate the Rana Plaza victims.

He, however, did not say how the fund was misused.
Speaking at a doa mahfil for the victims at party central office in the capital, Fakhrul also said the government used the Rana Plaza incident to stop BNP-led alliance’s movement against it at that time.
At least 1,135 people, mostly RMG workers, were killed and scores more were injured when the mine-storey Rana Plaza building in Savar collapsed on April 24, 2013.
PM’s Special Assistant Mahbubul Hoque Shakil on Wednesday said the Relief and Welfare Fund of the prime minister for the victims was operated with the “highest transparency and accountability.” He said already Tk 22.13 crore was distributed among injured workers and families of the deceased.
Without giving any detail, Fakhrul also accused the government of destabilising the country’s garments industry at present.
to read.
daily star bd

* The unforgotten pics:

20140425 NEWAGE

Death is more often than not a staple requirement to qualify something as tragedy. But when the death toll passes well over the figure of a thousand, that too, not in a war, the word ‘catastrophic’ is perhaps a more apt choice.

The collapse of Rana Plaza, an eight-storey building housing a number of apparel factories, on April 24, 2013, is nothing short of a catastrophe.
Though ours is a nation of forgetters, the specter of that catastrophe did not disappear from collective memory, so powerful was its aftermath.

This is testified in the ongoing three-day photography exhibition at TSC Bot Tala in front of Suhrawardy Udyan where 60 photographers from different media, who photographed the catastrophe, have showcased around 80 stills of death and disaster, hope and despondency, love and loss.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Bleeding, still:

Families of Rana Plaza victims find nothing to console their tormented souls

Salma Begum fumbled in the piles of the debris-strewn disaster site in Savar. A piece of torn cloth, a rubber slipper nearby, she looked out.
Was it her son’s shirt or sandal?
She mumbled.
Only tears rolled down.

“Where’ve you gone my heart, my bazan (son)?…. I’ll take you home,” howled Salma, kneeling down on the jumbled concrete debris of Rana Plaza.
None and nothing could stop her mourning. Only a sense of nothingness prevailed.
Like Salma, family members and relatives of Rana Plaza victims were given a chance to see the disaster site yesterday on the first anniversary of country’s deadliest industrial disaster that claimed 1,135 lives and left more than 2,000 others injured. More than 100 remain still missing.

Torn cloths, papers, yarns, tags, two photos of a girl, probably a garment worker, are among the debris still scattered across the site. Some human bones were also seen strewn in the concrete rubbles yesterday.
Even a year after the collapse, stench of bodies still hangs over the site encircled by barbed wires and corrugated iron sheets at the rear.
read more.
daily star bd

* Nightmares haunt them:

It has been a year since Rana Plaza collapsed but nightmares still haunt the survivors.

Sajal Das survived the collapse with severe injuries.

The 26-year-old tried hard to rebuild his life in the apparel sector but the life-changing injuries and the psychological trauma he had sustained got in the way.
“After the collapse, I made three attempts to work in a garment factory, but could not continue. Neither my health, nor my mental condition would let me work for hours. Whenever I hear a noise, I get startled,” said a sighing Sajal.
“Now I have lost interest in the garment factory,” he said.

He moved to Dhaka from Sylhet five years ago with the hope of earning a decent living and had joined New Wave Style Ltd, which was on the sixth floor of Rana Plaza, in 2010. His wife Jhuma Das worked in the same factory and she too was injured.
Sajal was injured in his waist while his wife suffered injuries to the head and waist.
“I did not resume work because it is too difficult,” Jhuma said.
read more.
daily star bd

* She knows where her daughter lies:

Safura Begum, with her son standing close, touched the dirt in the Jurain graveyard. ‘I can feel my child, resting here,’ was what she said.

‘I remember meeting h er last in the past year. I cannot still believe that I will no longer seer her,’ said Safura, holding up a photograph of her daughter, Rashida Khatun, in her twenties, wearing a red and violet sari and a red bindi, who worked in one of the five clothing factories housed in Rana Plaza when the building collapsed on April 24, 2013.

Safura, who remembered, with tearful eyes, her last meeting with her daughter at Pahela Baishakh of 1420 in her village home in Meherpur when Rashida, the only bread-earner of the family, gave her mother Tk 3,000, said that she had reached Savar after the building had collapsed.
‘My daughter left me to join work. Ten days after, I heard that the building that housed the factory she worked in had collapsed. I also heard that several hundred people had died,’ she said standing in the graveyard in the morning on Thursday, exactly a year after the building collapse.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* They still search for the missing:

Dozens of people whose near and dear ones went missing after the Rana Plaza building collapse last year were still searching for the remains of their family members.

One year after the country’s worst factory disaster, family members of the missing workers were still seen wailing outside the pile of debris fenced with iron sheet at the Rana Plaza site at Savar in Dhaka.
They said the government agencies had collected their DNA samples but failed to identify their relatives who are believed to have been killed in the building collapse.
Most of the mourners are not sure if they would ever come to know what happened to their dear ones with the government yet to respond to their pleas.

‘I neither found the body nor any compensation…Where I should I go now?’ said elderly Chhatu Khatun holding a placard with details of her 16-yer-old son Azam Khan.
With her three-year-old grandchild Rubina Akhter on her lap, Rokeya
Akhter was holding a placard with the photograph of her missing daughter Lucky Akhter Sonia, a worker at the New Wave Style factory which Rana Plaza had housed.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* BGMEA chief: Families of missing workers will get help:

The worst industrial accident killed 1,135 workers and injured over 2,500 on April 24, last year

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Atiqul Islam said the body will rehabilitate and compensate families of missing workers of Rana Plaza factories.

He said BGMEA has not closed its doors for Rana Plaza workers and would continue supporting them in future.

“If any affected family comes to us, we will take the responsibility of them,” announced Atiqul Islam while addressing a rally organised remembering Rana Plaza victims yesterday
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* DNA tests create scope for closure:

Safura Khatun, mother of Rashida Khatun, a seamstress who was killed in the Rana Plaza tragedy last year, finally touched the grave of her beloved daughter yesterday after a whole one year.

She found the news of her child’s grave in the capital’s Jurain graveyard in February but could not come from her village home in Meherpur due to financial problems.
“After a long time, I am feeling the touch of my daughter again,” Safura said, breaking into sobs at Jurain graveyard where 291 victims were buried unidentified initially.
Through DNA tests later, authorities identified 206 of them, while 85 still remain unidentified.
“Though we were informed about the DNA results six months back, we only received the relevant paper in February,” said Mohammad Abu Bakar, brother of Rashida.
read more.
daily star bd

* April 24 as nat’l secured workplace day demanded:

Garment workers and leaders in Chittagong yesterday demanded that the government declare April 24 as the national secured workplace day and compensate Rana Plaza victims as early as possible.

The demands came from a human chain organised by Bangladesh Independent Garment Workers Union Federation before Chittagong Press Club in the port city. Their demands include punishment for culprits responsible for the Rana Plaza collapse incident and also compensation for victims of other industrial accidents.
to read.
daily star bd

* Global rally for victims of industrial tragedy:

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world yesterday mourned the garment workers who died in the Rana Plaza disaster one year ago.

They also called upon retailers to be more transparent about their supply chains and compensate the victims and their families.
In Paris, people wore funeral shrouds and held placards reading the names, age and profession of the victims as they took part in a protest marking the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse, reported AFP.

In London, activists protested outside Gap’s flagship High Street branch in Kensington over its refusal to join companies that have signed a legally binding Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety, following the disaster which killed 1,135, mostly garment workers.
The protesters included comedian and writer Mark Thomas, representatives from the charity War on Want, and Tansy E Hoskins, the journalist who has written the new book Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion.
Nadia Idle, a campaigner of London-based rights organisation War on Want, demonstrated outside Gap’s store in Kensington with a placard that says “Warning: Lethal Working Conditions.
read more.
daily star bd

* Eleven Labour Court cases stuck in tangles:

The Labour Ministry lodged the cases against its owner Sohel Rana, his father Abdul Khaleque, and the owners and top officials of the five garment factories housed in the building

The trials in 11 cases filed with the Labour Court following the Rana Plaza collapse have yet to begin even though one year has passed since the deadly incident took place.

The Labour Ministry lodged the cases against its owner Sohel Rana, his father Abdul Khaleque, and the owners and top officials of the five garment factories housed in the building.

The eight-storeyed building situated beside the Savar-Dhaka highway collapsed on the morning of April 24, last year, leaving at least 1,135 people, mostly workers of the five garment factories housed in that faulty building, dead and over 2,500 injured.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* ONE YEAR OF RANA PLAZA DISASTER: Protests demand justice, damages, rehabilitation:

Several thousand survivors, relatives of the workers who died or went missing in the Rana Plaza collapse at Savar, rights campaigners observed the first anniversary of the disaster that left 1,135 people, mostly apparel workers, dead and rallied for justice, damages and rehabilitation.

Labour rights groups called on the government to declare April 24 a national holiday and observe it as ‘mourning and labour safety day’ in memory of people who died as Rana Plaza, which housed five clothing factories, a shopping mall and a bank, collapsed in 2013. More than 2,000 workers were maimed or wounded.
Protesters also urged the government, owners and foreign clothing brands to improve safety condition so that such incidents do not take place again.
Relatives of the workers who went missing wailed as workers who survived with injuries and their relatives demanded due compensation in keeping with International Labour Organisation standards.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

—————

* French retailer sued over Rana Plaza collapse:

The French retailer Auchan says it had never placed any orders at the Rana Plaza garments factory

A judicial complaint has been filed against French supermarket giant Auchan, in the first of such cases in Europe, in the wake of the deadly Rana Plaza collapse that took the lives of some 1,136 people.

Sherpa, a non profit organisation for the “victims of economic crimes,” Peuples Solidaires (People’s Solidarity), and the Ethique sur l’etiquette (Ethics on Labels) collective, have jointly filed the case, reported The Local.

The three lobby groups, in the complaint that filed with a public prosecutor in France, accused Auchun of misleading customers about working conditions overseas and claims that an investigation found labels from the chain’s “In Extenso” range in the rubble.

However, Auchan said it had never placed any orders at the Rana Plaza garments factory in Dhaka, which collapsed on April 24 last year after a catastrophic structural failure, leaving 1,136 people dead.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Orthotics & Prosthetics School at CRP:

The first Orthotics & Prosthetics School in Bangladesh has been launched at the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) on Thursday to teach Rana Plaza victims with permanent disabilities how to effectively use artificial limbs in day to day life.

German Development Cooperation together with the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) jointly launched the school marking the one year anniversary of the tragic Rana Plaza building collapse at the CRP premises in Savar.

Roswitha Amels, First Secretary from the German Embassy, inaugurated one floor of the Orthotics & Prosthetics School in CRP premises in Savar.

The training facility is jointly financed by CRP, the Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the German Development Cooperation.

Well-trained CRP professionals will help the victims of Rana Plaza with permanent disabilities who were equipped with artificial limbs to learn the use their new limbs in day to day life, said a press release from the German Embassy to Dhaka.
read more.
BANGLA NEWS24

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20140426

* Minister for joint efforts to raise fund for Rana Plaza victims:

The European Union (EU) and Bangladesh should work together to impress the international companies, including the European ones, to adequately contribute to the compensation fund for the Rana Plaza victims, said a Dutch minister on Friday.

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands Lilianne Ploumen also appreciated Bangladesh for steps taken so far to improve the working conditions in the massive RMG sector.
read more. & read more.
UNB NEWAGEnew

* RANA PLAZA DISASTER: Protestors ask Walmart for more aid for victims:

A year after Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed, killing more than 1,100 workers and injuring more than 2,000 in the worst disaster in the history of the garment industry, protesters gathered Thursday outside the Walmart Neighbourhood Market in Lakeview to demand the world’s largest retailer commit more money to helping the survivors and victims’ families, reports Chicago Tribune.

‘Walmart has only given $1 million to the Rana Plana Trust Fund,’ said Liana Foxvog, director of organising and communications for the International Labour Rights Forum, a non-profit advocacy group headquartered in Washington, DC.
‘That is an inexcusably low contribution, which amounts to less than $500 per affected family.’
A fund called the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, managed by the International Labour Organisation, a specialised agency of the United Nations, needs an estimated $40 million to cover the workers affected by the factory collapse. So far it has raised $16 million in voluntary donations.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Rana Plaza disaster marked by Oxford Street demonstration:

Activists formed a human chain on London’s Oxford Street to mark the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh and expose the failure of major retail chains to compensate survivors and victims’ families, International Business Times reported.

Campaigners from Labour Behind the Label and War on Want, joined by trade union activists, gathered outside Gap’s flagship branch in Oxford Street to commemorate the 1,138 garment workers who died at a clothing factory building just outside Dhaka in Bangladesh exactly one year ago.
Activists were demanding that all brands buying from Rana Plaza pay into a fund set up by the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO). The target is $40m but only $15m has been raised. A number of brands whose clothes were found in the rubble of the factory, including Benetton and Matalan, have not contributed to the fund.
Both companies said they preferred to support alternative assistance programmes for victims.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Call for workers to stand united:

Politicians, academics and  labour leaders at a solidarity rally in the capital on Friday said that workers must be united to realise their demands.

Labourers are the most deprived as they get the lowest wages, the participants in the rally at Shahbagh said.
Bangladesh Garment Sramik Sanghati organised the rally commemorating the workers who died in the Rana Plaza collapse of April 2013.
Eleven hundred and thirty-five workers were killed and more than 2,000 were maimed or wounded in the collapse of the building that housed five clothing factories, a shopping mall and a bank.
Dhaka University professor emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury said that workers were the most deprived as governments had always favoured the rich.
read more.
NEWAGEnew

* Revisiting Rana Plaza disaster in celluloid:

Curtain fell yesterday on ‘Aftermath: Rana Plaza,’ a photography exhibition arranged to mark the first anniversary of the country’s deadliest garment factory accident in Savar.

The three-day exhibition, which opened at the TSC on Dhaka University campus on April 23, was an initiative of 60 photojournalists working with renowned national and international media outlets.
The journalists said they arranged the exhibition to raise awareness of such manmade disaster among general people, garment factory owners, owners of other factories, workers and the government.
They said through media they were urging the government to consider the idea of preparing a national archive of the photos or to place those in the national museum.
see more. (photo report).
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Rana Plaza: BGMEA to take liability of dead workers’ child:

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) will take responsibility of the children of the dead workers who died in Rana Plaza building collapse.

The apex apparel trade body will bear all expenses, including their education.
BGMEA President Atiqul Islam made the assertion while addressing the inaugural ceremony of Azizur Rahman Girls’ Home (Orphanage) at the National Press Club on Saturday.

Anjuman Mofidul Islam (AMI) set up the orphanage in Pathalia of Savar outskirts of the capital.
Dhaka constituency-19 lawmaker Dr M Enamur Rahman inaugurated the orphanage.

Atiqul said, “BGMEA is committed to take the liability of the children of the dead workers of Rana Plaza tragedy that is why I am announcing that as long as BGEA will exist, the responsibility of all the children is of the organization.”
read more.
BANGLA NEWS24

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20140427

* Victims’ children see hope at Anjuman home:

Though nothing is worthy enough to make up for their loss, children of the Rana Plaza victims, who died or got severely injured in the tragedy, have found shelter and the promise of a better future at Anjuman Azizul Islam Balika Home.

The home for girls run by Anjuman Mofidul Islam, a reputed charitable, was opened in Pathalia of Savar outside the capital, following the April 24, 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy, which killed at least 1,135 and wounded over 2,400 garment workers.
“Initially, the land was intended for building an old home.

But when the Rana Plaza tragedy occurred we thought we needed to provide shelter to the victims’ children, who are our future,” said Azim Buksh, vice president of Anjuman, while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the home at Jatiya Press Club yesterday.
The tin-roof concrete building sprawling on of 16.5 decimals land donated by one AHM Azizul Islam started its journey on February 5 this year, initially with five orphans of Rana Plaza victims.
Later, with the assistance of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association’s (BGMEA), 10 more girls, arrived there.
read more.
daily star bd

* Improving working condition of RMG workers:

Despite passage of one year of the Rana Plaza tragedy, all the victims and their families are yet to be fully compensated.

Many of them have been leading miserable and uncertain lives which they don’t deserve. We have a bad tendency of forgetting a tragedy soon after it takes place. Then we catch up with other such incidents.

But Rana Plaza incident will never be forgotten as it is one of the worst industrial disasters of the world. All stakeholders of readymade garments (RMG) sector have already come forward. We only need to bring discipline and transparency in compensation distribution in a short time.
read more.
FE bd

* Cop probe goes nowhere:

The Rana Plaza tragedy at Savar has yet to see justice for the death of at least 1,138 people, as police could not complete investigation into the collapse of the building even after one year.

Seven out of total 21 accused in three cases filed in connection with the disaster have already been out of prison after obtaining bail from the High Court.
Three other accused including Sohel Rana, owner of Rana Plaza, have also secured bail from the HC in two cases. However, they are still behind bars, as the Supreme Court has stayed the HC orders following opposition from the Office of the Attorney General.

Of the accused out on bail, Abdul Khalek, father of Sohel Rana, returned to Savar and has allegedly been lobbying for his son’s bail with influential quarters.
Police officials claimed they were taking time to complete the investigation so that it could be done smoothly and faultlessly.
The Savar police, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) and a victim’s family filed the cases following the country’s biggest industrial accident occurred on April 24 last year.
read more.
daily star bd

* Victims’ children see hope at Anjuman home:

Though nothing is worthy enough to make up for their loss, children of the Rana Plaza victims, who died or got severely injured in the tragedy, have found shelter and the promise of a better future at Anjuman Azizul Islam Balika Home.

The home for girls run by Anjuman Mofidul Islam, a reputed charitable, was opened in Pathalia of Savar outside the capital, following the April 24, 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy, which killed at least 1,135 and wounded over 2,400 garment workers.
“Initially, the land was intended for building an old home.

But when the Rana Plaza tragedy occurred we thought we needed to provide shelter to the victims’ children, who are our future,” said Azim Buksh, vice president of Anjuman, while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the home at Jatiya Press Club yesterday.
The tin-roof concrete building sprawling on of 16.5 decimals land donated by one AHM Azizul Islam started its journey on February 5 this year, initially with five orphans of Rana Plaza victims.
Later, with the assistance of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association’s (BGMEA), 10 more girls, arrived there.
read more.
daily star bd

* Many Rana Plaza victims not rehabilitated: Suranjit:

Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta on Saturday said many families of Rana Plaza victims had not been rehabilitated and given compensation even one year after the tragedy.

‘I think the money donated by the foreigners for the Rana Plaza victims have also not been equally distributed. The foreigners’ donation distribution process is also lengthy,’ he said.
Suranjit, addressing a discussion at Institution of Diploma Engineers, emphasised coordination between the government and the garment factory owners and said the families of Rana Plaza victims would have to be rehabilitated through strong coordination between the government and the garment factory owners.

He said the rights of trade union should be ensured in the garment sector to ensure the rights of its workers.
Bangabandhu Academy organised the discussion meeting addressed by its adviser Chittaranjan Das and independent lawmaker Haji Mohammad Selim.
to read.
NEWAGEnew

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20140428

* Some Rana Plaza victims not compensated:

Some victims of Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster said Monday they have still not received promised compensation, days after a deadline for payments from a multi-million dollar fund backed by Western retailers.

Victims, many of whom suffered horrific injuries when the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed April 24 last year killing 1,138 people, said they feared authorities had bungled payments they were supposed to receive by April 23.
‘I am still staying at the hospital and am running short of money,’ said Rehana Akhter, 22, who lost her left leg in the disaster.
‘Still no one has said whether I will get the compensation or not. If I don’t get the money I’ll have no choice but to start begging,’ she said.
‘I am not alone. A lot of Rana Plaza victims haven’t got any money. I think some people may have stolen our compensation.’
read more.
NEWAGEnew

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20140502

SEE part 5:  24 April 2013 THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE Part 5 20140502- now

 

map of Asia

20140314
* Rana Plaza victims in Bangladesh still not paid compensation
* Rana Plaza: Primark called on to pay up as launch date of payments announced

20140315
* Rana Plaza compensation fund short millions
* Clean Clothes hails launch of Rana Plaza claims process

20140316
* Savar Foundation continues rehabilitation efforts
* Primark to pay £6m more to victims of Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh
* Rana Plaza survivors fearful as they continue to work in garment factories

20140318
* Primark to start long-term payments to 580 workers of New Wave Bottoms
* Primark to give $10m more to Rana Plaza victims
* Primark to give away $9m this week
* Benetton fails on worker safety in Bangladesh
* Take action

20140319
* Benetton denies compensation to RMG victims
* Bangladesh unions criticise compensation payments
* Each Rana Plaza worker to get Tk50,000 from Trust Fund
* It’s time for the big brands to pay up
* Rana Plaza Trust Fund to launch worker payments as of 24 March

20140320
* RMG workers to get Tk 50,000 each by April 15
* Rana Plaza Survivor Left With Debilitating Trauma, Mere $519 In Compensation So Far
* Benetton denies compensation to RMG victims
* Take action: Make sure Benetton pays what they owe

20140321
* ‘DNA tests could be decisive to identify bodies’
* Keep flow of Rana Plaza compensation moving
* Rana Plaza compensation set to begin Monday

20140323-24
* No more apathy to apparel factory disaster survivors
* Rana Plaza owner gets bail
* Soheil Rana gets bail – will the murderer slip away from justice?
* Bail for Rana Plaza owner
* Rana granted bail in 1 case, denied in other
* Rana Plaza owner gets bail in building law flouting case
* Survivors of the Rana Plaza Building Collapse to Start claiming Compensation
* One month before anniversary of Rana Plaza collapse: compensation at last
* Rana Plaza compensation begins
* Fresh ultimatum to ensure compensation for victims

20140325
* Families of Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashions victims continue to call for compensation:
* Primark to pay Tk 50,000 to each NWB workers Mar 28
* Sohel Rana bail protested

20140326
* TELL CHILDREN’S PLACE TO PAY UP NOW

20140327
* State to challenge Rana Plaza owner’s bail
* Brac USA raises $5m fund for RMG workers
* BRAC USA announces renewed push for Bangladesh garment workers

20140328
* DNA tests identify 10 more Rana Plaza victims
* Can Western Corporations Be Held Accountable for Deaths in Factories Halfway Around the World?

20140329
* 430 Rana Plaza victims get Primark compensation
* 430 receive Tk 50,000 each in first phase
* Global retailer hands compensation to 430

20140330
* Call for compensating Rana Plaza’s missing workers
* Rana Plaza missing workers’ list published
* Identities of 146 missing Rana Plaza workers listed

20140331
* Rana Plaza survivor begins European tour

20140401
* SC stays Sohel Rana’s HC bail

20140402
* Labour bodies criticise govt for failing to publish authentic list of missing RMG workers
* IBC demands compensation for Rana Plaza victims, families
* Industriall urges brands to provide compensation before anniversary
* IndustriALL suggests Tk 57 lakh for each worker

20140403
* Time is ticking

20140405
* List of 146 missing workers handed over to minister

20140409
* 7 more bodies identified

20140410
* More funds sought for Rana Plaza victims
* CLOTHING BRANDS FAIL RANA PLAZA SURVIVORS

20140411
* More funds sought for BD factory collapse victims
* Rana Plaza victims to get compensation by April 24
* ILO aid for Rana Plaza victims soon
* A Year Later, Bangladesh Factory-Collapse Victims Still Wait for Compensation
* ‘Seven-member body to oversee disbursement of $40m ILO fund to Rana Plaza victims’

20140412
* Compensations for all victims demanded
* Proper compensation for Rana Plaza victims demanded
* Victims want to know account of foreign aid
* As the dreaded day appears, Rana Plaza Aftermath
* Global retailers asked to compensate Rana Plaza victims before April 24
* ‘Compensate Rana Plaza victims by Apr 24’

20140414
* Families of 53 Rana Plaza victims to receive PM fund assistance tomorrow

20140415
* ‘The Deadly Cost of Fashion’
* Owner of collapsed Bangladesh factory faces murder charges

20140416
* In Bangladesh, murder charges against Rana plaza owner
* Rana Plaza Collapse: Cheques given to families of more 53 persons killed
* Which brands need to Pay Up!
* Compensation fund for Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza victims barely one-third full

20140417
* Compensations continue to elude Rana Plaza victims
* Rana Plaza trust fund collects $17m so far
* Compensation fund for Rana Plaza victims barely one-third full: Report
* RANA PLAZA, TAZREEN TRAGEDIES: Punishment demanded for those responsible

20140418
* Global Day of Action: PAY UP! Justice for Rana Plaza victims
* Rana Plaza Survivors Call on Brands to Pay Up
* Compensations continue to elude Rana Plaza victims
* $15m collected for fund
* Compensating Rana Plaza victims
* Properties of Rana confiscated
* Rana Plaza One Year Later: Living in Constant Pain

20140419
* Proper compensation for Rana Plaza victims demanded
* A year after Rana Plaza: What hasn’t changed since the Bangladesh factory collapse

20140420
* No transparency in PM’s relief fund for Rana Plaza victims
* Compensate Rana Plaza victims before Apr 24: Workers
* 74% Rana Plaza tragedy victims can’t join works

20140421
* Rana Plaza tragedy survivors face financial hardship
* ILO deputy director general due today
* Tk 38cr distributed among families of Rana Plaza victims
* Rana Plaza survivors left in desperate straits
* ONE YEAR AFTER RANA PLAZA TRAGEDY : Survivors stare blankly at future
* BGMEA forms body to scrutinise Rana Plaza victims
* Government may ask for fresh DNA samples
* Bangladesh factory survivors turn to theatre
* Most Bangladesh factory survivors still too sick to work: survey
* 1,058 Rana Plaza survivors out of work

20140422
* Consumers demand more accountability
* ILO standard compensations demanded
* The Ghosts of Rana Plaza
* ACC to estimate Rana Plaza construction cost
* Safety lacking after Bangladesh factory disaster: US
* Rana Plaza Collapse: ILO to mark 1-yr commemoration
* Victims doubt if justice would be done
* Compensation before Apr 24 demanded
* GTF compensation fund for Rana Plaza victims to be disbursed from today
* Traumatised, left mostly uncared for
* ILO to give Tk 50,000 to each Rana Plaza victims
* Rana Plaza Collapse: RMG workers, victims demand death to owners of bldg
* IBC to hold rally in front of collapsed Rana Plaza Wednesday
* Rana Plaza victims to get Tk50,000 each

20140423
* Payments from ILO-led RMG Trust Fund begin
* Mark April 24 as national mourning day: rights activists
* Exhibit brings alive the agony of the dead
* ONE YEAR AFTER RANA PLAZA TRAGEDY-III : Compensation still eludes victims
* Survived, only to suffer
* Rana Plaza victims urgently need assistance: HRW
* Report against Sohel Rana soon
* 1st anniversary of Rana Plaza tragedy tomorrow
* Art exhibition on Rana Plaza tragedy in city
* Rana Plaza – one year on
* One year on, brands still failing Rana Plaza survivors and victims’ families
* One year on. The story of April 24th 2013
* Q&A with Jyrki Raina on the Rana Plaza Anniversary
* 3,000 victim families of Rana Plaza tragedy to get ILO assistance
* A year of Rana Plaza tragedy wide gap persists between commitments and delivery: CPD
* Affected workers light candles at Rana Plaza site

20140424
* In Memoriam
* A year of Rana Plaza disaster today
* Rana Plaza tragedy, a year on
* Light gone out of his life suddenly
* Understanding the pain of the victims
* One year of Rana Plaza tragedy
* The day back with haunting memories
* Survivors struggle a year after factory collapse
* A time to heal
* Much left to do
* Wounds of Rana Plaza collapse fester on
* Rana Plaza survivors still getting free treatment from CRP
* Can we evolve?
* Tragedy, forever
* SKOP wants punishment for Rana Plaza owner
* Rana Plaza, One Year on: Brands still Failing Survivors & Victim’s Families
* Factory owners urged to compensate victims
* Retailers shy away from compensation
* The aftermath of disaster
* ONE YEAR AFTER RANA PLAZA TRAGEDY: Wide gap between commitments and delivery persists: CPD
* Promises not kept, mostly
* Over Tk 23cr spent so far- Donation Tk 127cr
* CPD recommends commission for Rana Plaza victims
* BB working to create jobs for Rana Plaza volunteers
* Rana Plaza collapse survivors at risk of destitution: HRW
* Towards a safer garment industry in Bangladesh

* The Sad First Anniversary of Rana Plaza
* 1st anniversary of Rana Plaza Tragedy
* When all hell broke loose
* Rana Plaza tragedy: Sad saga of maimed and missing
* ‘Ideal procedure was not maintained in identifying Rana Plaza victims’
* ‘Authorities responsible for Rana Plaza disaster’
* Life has not been the same for all
* Dead mates have not left miracle girl Reshma
* No comprehensive list of Rana Plaza victims yet
* Rana Plaza victims are still waiting for compensation

——update 19.30h loc.time—–
* Hundreds gather at Rana Plaza tragedy site
* Doa Mahfl held for Rana Plaza victims
* Huge crowd on highway in Savar
* Victims’ relatives block highway for 4hrs- RMG workers’ bid to lay siege to BGMEA Bhaban foiled
* One year of Rana Plaza tragedy today
* The Rana Plaza claims process explained
* Statement on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse
* Rana Plaza A look into garment sector one year after the worst workplace tragedy
* Bangladesh marks factory collapse anniversary
* A year on from Rana Plaza, families still await millions in compensation
* ILO to organise discussion in Geneva for Rana Plaza victims
* ‘Charge sheets of two Rana Plaza cases soon’
* Police buy time for an accurate Rana Plaza charge sheet: Asaduzzaman Khan

—update 23.30h loc.time—
* Slow progress in compensating Rana Plaza victims annoys ILO
* Rana Plaza: A look back, and forward
* ‘We must never forget Rana Plaza victims’
* Rana Plaza Tragedy fails to draw USA attention
* Rana Plaza survivors leading miserable life: BNP
* Govt misusing fund raised for Rana Plaza victims: BNP

20140425
—-updated 09.00h loc.time—
* A saga of heartrending stories
* Fateful April 24
* Survivors’ trauma largely unaddressed
* Is the factory collapsea turning point?
* Crisis seen as opportunity
* Fashion Revolution Day: A year after Rana Plaza
* Rana Plaza tragedy victims remembered
* Retailers ‘failing victims’ a year after Rana Plaza disaster
* BGMEA vows to compensate victims
* Cops foil workers’ march to BGMEA
* Govt misusing Rana Plaza fund: BNP
* The unforgotten pics
* Bleeding, still
* Nightmares haunt them
* She knows where her daughter lies
* They still search for the missing
* BGMEA chief: Families of missing workers will get help
* DNA tests create scope for closure
* April 24 as nat’l secured workplace day demanded
* Global rally for victims of industrial tragedy
* Eleven Labour Court cases stuck in tangles
* ONE YEAR OF RANA PLAZA DISASTER: Protests demand justice, damages, rehabilitation

* French retailer sued over Rana Plaza collapse
* Orthotics & Prosthetics School at CRP

20140426
* Minister for joint efforts to raise fund for Rana Plaza victims
* RANA PLAZA DISASTER: Protestors ask Walmart for more aid for victims
* Rana Plaza disaster marked by Oxford Street demonstration
* Call for workers to stand united
* Revisiting Rana Plaza disaster in celluloid
* Rana Plaza: BGMEA to take liability of dead workers’ child

20140427
* Victims’ children see hope at Anjuman home
* Improving working condition of RMG workers
* Cop probe goes nowhere
* Victims’ children see hope at Anjuman home
* Many Rana Plaza victims not rehabilitated: Suranjit

20140428
* Some Rana Plaza victims not compensated

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2