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Global retailers defer Rana Plaza compensation meet

  • Published at 04:18 pm August 11th, 2013
Global retailers defer Rana Plaza compensation meet

A meeting to fix compensation for victims of Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen fire incidents was postponed until next month as a union leader fell sick.

The meeting venue was also shifted from Dhaka to Geneva to avoid shutdowns often called by political parties in Bangladesh.

The meeting aiming to put together a full and fair compensation package for all the victims and their families of the two fatal accidents was initially planned for yesterday and today in Dhaka.

After rescheduling, the meetings will now be held in Geneva in September and the exact date has not yet decided, says IndustriAll, a global union federation, in a statement.

“With the sudden illness of a key union official and a strike threat in Bangladesh, we feel that the meetings will be more fruitful at a later date,” said IndustriAll General Secretary Jyrki Raina, who is organising the meeting.

He said: “We thought it was a better solution to do this in Europe in September. The problem is Rana Plaza workers and families aren’t receiving money, so it’s not as it should be.”

IndustriAll estimates the long-term compensation cost will be $71m for the Rana Plaza collapse, where 1,131 people were killed in the nation’s worst industrial accident, and $5.7m for the Tazreen garment factory fire, which killed 112.

Responsibility in giving compensation is shared between the global brands and retailers sourcing from Tazreen and Rana Plaza, the factory owners, the BGMEA and the government of Bangladesh.

The compensation will be given in line with the ILO Convention 121 on employment injury benefits. The compensation mechanism was developed after the Spectrum factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2005.

The formula sets out clear guidelines for payment to families of dead and injured workers and takes into account loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and also medical costs, funeral costs and other important family expenses.

“It is a clear priority for IndustriAll that international standards are respected on this important issue of compensation in the case of Rana Plaza and Tazreen. What we all want is to make the mechanisms agreed in the Bangladesh Accord quickly a reality so that compensating dead and injured garment workers in Bangladesh becomes a thing of the past,” said Raina.

Nearly three weeks into the world’s worst industrial accident at Rana Plaza, more than 80 American and European retailers and brands signed three accords – National Action Plan, Fire and Building Safety Accord, and North American Alliance – separately for improving working condition in the garment factories in Bangladesh.