It is one year since the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, in which 1,138 workers perished. The victims’ families and the hundreds of injured workers have still not received anything like adequate compensation. Many are without jobs; many unable to work. Working conditions for millions of workers in Bangladesh, especially in the garment industry, have remained unchanged.
In the letter published here, MEP Paul Murphy, from the Socialist Party (CWI, Ireland), and other left members of the European Parliament are demanding that full compensation be given and workers’ conditions be dramatically improved.
For the attention of Commissioner De Gucht, EU Member States and companies sourcing from Rana Plaza.
Re: Members of the European Parliament support the call of civil society organisations for payment of compensation to the victims and families of the Rana Plaza factory collapse.
To those concerned,
24 April marks the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. 1,138 people died under the rubble of what is considered to be the deadliest garment-factory accident in history. Another 2,000 or so were injured. Most of those killed and injured worked in one of the five factories housed in the building.
A public outcry followed in light of the poor working conditions and the blatant neglect of the most basic health and safety regulations in Bangladesh´s textile industry. Let’s not forget that it is multinational brands and retailers, including European brands and retailers that have been making, and are continuing to make, huge profits at the expense of the mainly female workforce in Bangladesh’s garment industry.
The Donor Trust Fund, funds a process known as “the Arrangement”, agreed and implemented by a multi stakeholder committee facilitated by the ILO. This system, which provides for 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 only US$15.1 million has been paid to the fund. According to the Clean Clothes Campaign, 29* brands have been directly linked to factories in Rana Plaza with either recent or trial orders or previous production. Their combined profits excess US$22 billion a year. They are being asked to contribute less than 0.2% of these profits towards compensating the people their profits are built on. Currently 15 brands, including Benetton, Matalan, Adler Modemärkte and Auchan, have failed to make even an initial contribution to the Donor Trust Fund
We believe that all of them should publicly contribute a significant amount to the Rana Plaza Donor’s Trust Fund, an amount that will be sufficient to ensure each and every family received the payments they are owed. We further believe that those that have yet to pay should do so before the date of the first anniversary.
We call on the European Commission and Trade Commissioner Karl De Gucht in particular, to name and shame the European based companies that haven´t paid into the Donor Trust Fund by 24 April in the statement that he is intending to publish on that date. We call on the government of the European Union’s Member States to do the same, particular with regard to the companies based in the respective Member State.
We believe that this is only one step, but a necessary one, towards justice for the Rana Plaza workers. We commit ourselves to continue to raise the need for decent wages, working conditions and workers’ rights, including the right to organise and bargain collectively, in Bangladesh.
Paul Murphy MEP (GUE/NGL)
Ivo Belet MEP (EPP)
Phil Bennion MEP (ALDE)
Elmar Brok MEP (EPP)
Nessa Childers MEP (Independent)
Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP (ALDE)
Ana Maria Gomes MEP (S&D)
Iñaki Irazabalbeitia Fernández MEP (Greens/EFA)
Jean Lambert MEP (Greens/EFA)
Kartika Liotard MEP (GUE/NGL)
Sabine Lösing MEP (GUE/NGL)
Sarah Ludford MEP (ALDE)
Marisa Matias MEP (GUE/NGL)
Willy Meyer MEP (GUE/NGL)
Niccolò Rinaldi MEP (ALDE)
Helmut Schultz MEP (GUE/NGL)
Alda Sousa MEP (GUE/NGL)
Keith Taylor MEP (Greens/EFA)
Vojtěch Mynář MEP (S&D)
Nikola Vuljanić MEP (GUE/NGL)
Sabine Wils MEP (GUE/NGL)
* The 29 brands are: Adler Modemärkte (Germany), Auchan (France), Ascena Retail (USA), C&A (Belgium), Benetton (Italy), Bon Marche (UK) , Camaieu (France), Carrefour (France), Cato Fashions (USA), The Children’s Place (USA), LPP (Cropp, Poland), El Corte Ingles (Spain), Gueldenpfennig (Germany), Inditex (Spain), JC Penney (USA), Loblaws (Canada), Kids for Fashion (Germany), Kik (Germany),Mango (Spain), Manifattura Corona (Italy), Mascot (Denmark), Matalan (UK), NKD (Germany), Premier Clothing (UK), Primark (UK/Ireland), Grabalok (UK), PWT (Denmark), Walmart (USA) and YesZee (Italy).