Not even a single factory fully safe yet: IndustriALL
Bangladesh still cannot claim that even one of its 4,000 active garment factories is 100 percent safe two years after the Rana Plaza disaster, a global labour group said yesterday.
“It is an unacceptable reality that not a single factory can yet be called 100 percent safe,” said IndustriALL Global Union on the eve of the second anniversary of the country's worst-ever industrial disaster.
In a statement, it said important progress has been made but the fact that remediation works are behind schedule -- with some over six months behind -- is a serious problem.
The Geneva-based group called upon the garment industry to show that it has the leadership to stay the course and change the global supply chain permanently.
“The global garment industry needs to show to its consumers that it has learned its lesson and is able to move on to addressing another burning question: the poverty wages paid to workers.”
IndustriALL also rued the lack of funds needed to compensate the injured workers and the dependants of the deceased.
The compensation fund is still missing $6 million out of the targeted $30 million.
IndustriALL Global Union General Secretary Jyrki Raina said: “Two years after this industrial homicide, the victims of Rana Plaza are still waiting for full compensation.
This is a collective responsibility, but we specifically call upon brands like Benetton, Mango, Walmart and Carrefour to contribute more.”
UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said: “It's outrageous that families who lost their mothers and breadwinners have still not been fully compensated because a group of multinationals can't find it in their hearts or deep pockets to pay the $6 million missing from the compensation fund.”
“All brands need to join forces to end the funding crisis by closing the funding gap and stepping up the remedial work on factories.”
The unions also said they will use every tool within the legally binding Bangladesh Accord to ensure that the brands and factory owners fix the structures.
The legally binding Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety was negotiated by IndustriALL, UNI and its NGO partners with the brands after the Rana Plaza collapse.
The Accord now has more than 200 brands signed up. The agency has completed nearly 1,500 factory inspections and identified many thousands of safety issues for remedy.
More than 2,500 garment factories have been inspected for structural, fire and electrical safety since the disaster.
However, Syed Ahmed, inspector general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, on Wednesday said while there are problems with many factories, the number of structures facing risks of collapse is less than 2 percent.
The government has already shut down 32 factories for health and safety concerns, according to the ILO.