Primark says long-term compensation for Rana Plaza factory victims due in early 2014
Company and advocacy groups call on other companies to take similar action
Relatives show pictures of missing garment workers in the wake of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, outside Dhaka in April
The announcement by Primark that it will pay long-term compensation to those who suffered after a Bangladesh factory collapsed six months ago has led to calls for other clothing brands to follow suit.
Primark, which trades in Ireland as Penneys, said yesterday that it would deliver long- term compensation to victims, or their dependants, following the Rana Plaza disaster in which more than 1,100 Bangladeshi factory workers died. It called on other companies to take similar action.
Yesterday Primark said it had set out a timetable for long-term compensation payments to workers or their dependants employed by New Wave Bottoms, the Rana Plaza-based company which was supplying the clothing chain at the time of the collapse.
Relief to victims
It hoped to start paying long-term compensation early in the new year. In the meantime, it said it would provide a further financial payment to provide relief to victims or their dependants.
The company called on other brands to pay aid to affected workers and families, who, it said, were being supported by Primark although these workers were not producing clothing for the chain.
Advocacy groups the Clean Clothes Campaign and the International Labour Rights Forum said Canada’s Loblaw Companies was also committed to providing short-term relief, while Italian retailer Benetton and Spanish chain El Corte Ingles were participating in attempts to establish a fund.
Oxfam Ireland chief executive Jim Clarken said the Rana Plaza tragedy and the deaths of seven factory workers in a fire in Aswad Composite Mills in Gazipur outside Dhaka earlier this month highlighted the “urgent need to change the way these factories are built and ensure that safety is the primary day-to-day concern of those operating them.
“With 60 per cent of Bangladesh’s garment exports ending up in Europe, retailers here have a responsibility to ensure that the clothes they sell have been made in a safe working environment,” Mr Clarken added.
About 3.6 million of Bangladesh’s 155 million people work in the clothing industry, making it the world’s second- largest garments exporter behind China. – (Additional reporting Reuters)