Two western retailers – Primark of the UK and Loblaw of Canada – have pledged to compensate the families of garment workers who were killed while making their clothes in factories located in Rana Plaza that collapsed on April 24.
Primark, which was first to make the promise, said on Monday that it was working with a local NGO to help the victims of the disaster, according to Banglanews24.
“Primark will pay compensation to the victims of this disaster who worked for its supplier,” said the company owned by the FTSE 100-listed Associated British Foods.
“This will include the provision of long-term aid for children who have lost parents, financial aid for those injured and payments to the families of the deceased.”
Loblaw Companies Ltd, which had some of its Joe Fresh clothing line manufactured at Rana Plaza, said it too was offering compensation.
“We are working to ensure that we will deliver support in the best and most meaningful way possible, and with the goal of ensuring that victims and their families receive benefits now and in the future,” said spokesperson Julija Hunter in an email.
Primark and Loblaw operate under codes of conduct aimed at ensuring that products are made in good working conditions.
Meanwhile, the International Labour Organisation, an agency of the United Nations, said it was sending a high-level mission to Bangladesh in the coming days.
“Horror and regret must translate into firm action,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in a statement. “Action now can prevent further tragedy.”
At least 397 garment workers were found dead and thousands of others injured as the eight-storey Rana Plaza near Savar bus stand collapsed on April 24.
With almost no hope left for finding further survivors after five days of frantic rescue operations, heavy machinery was brought in on Monday night to start clearing the mass of concrete and debris from the site.
Eight people have been arrested so far – four factory owners, two engineers, building owner Sohel Rana and his father Abdul Khalek – on charges of negligence that led to the deaths. Police are now looking for Spanish citizen David Mayor, another owner of a garment factory.