Remembering Rana Plaza
Activists and workers protested at the Children’s Store at Tanforan Mall in San Bruno April 15 to call on the clothing retailer to pay fair compensation to the victims of the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh and sign a safety accord.
San Mateo County Central Labor Council Executive Secretary Treasurer Shelley Kessler and Rich Hedges of UFCW attended the protest to support the campaign organized by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) and United Students Against Sweatshops. The organizations also held a global day of action April 24, the two year anniversary of the deadliest disaster in the history of the global garment industry.
A statement from the ILRF noted that Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, housing five garment factories, came crashing down on April 24, 2013. At least 1,138 people lost their lives under eight stories of concrete and machinery, among the remains of the garments that they were producing for global corporations. Thousands were injured and severely traumatized. Some people were forced to amputate their own limbs in order to escape this concrete grave. Even those who survived without much physical injury continue to struggle with trauma and economic destitution, including unemployment, homelessness, lack of proper healthcare, and the inability to afford an education for their children and siblings.
In the days and weeks immediately following the Rana Plaza disaster, the world united in pledging support for the survivors and victims’ families and urging change in the industry. Unfortunately, compensation has been slow in coming for the Rana Plaza victims who are still waiting for brands like The Children’s Place, Benetton and Walmart to make meaningful contributions to secure the remaining $6 million still needed to complete the $30 million compensation fund to support injured workers and families of the deceased with medical expenses and lost income.
The ILRF reported that some multinational brands are still refusing to pay what they owe in compensation, and called on people worldwide to demand justice for the victims, to hold brands and retailers accountable and to ensure that vital and lasting changes are made in the global apparel industry.
On April 24, Bangladeshi unions, labor rights, and human rights groups held a series of demonstrations both at the site of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Savar and at the National Press Club in Dhaka. Actions also took place at storefronts, malls, corporate offices, and other garment factories. Activists called for full compensation for Rana Plaza survivors and victims’ families and for all apparel brands and retailers doing business in Bangladesh sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. The ILRF also calls for transparency and due diligence, demand accountability and access to justice, and freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining for the garment workers.
For more information, check the Global Day of Action: Remembering Rana Plaza event page on Facebook, www.laborrights.org and http://orphansplace.com.