Full compensation still eludes victims
The Rana Plaza collapse victims, mostly female garment workers, have not completely received compensation neither in line with a High Court ruling nor the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions even almost a year past Bangladesh's worst industrial catastrophe.
Speakers made the observation at a discussion, “Disasters-accidents at workplace: women's multifaceted problems”, organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) in the capital's Jatiya Press Club yesterday.
Formed following the HC ruling, the government-appointed 31-member panel recommended Tk 14.5 lakh for the dead, missing and permanently disabled workers, Tk 7.5 lakh for those losing one limb, Tk 4.5 lakh for workers needing long-term treatment and Tk 1.5 lakh for the traumatised survivors.
Under the ILO's “loss of earnings” standards, which fix compensation based on victims' age and national life expectancy, the family of a dead worker is entitled to Tk 28 lakh.
Moreover, the permanently disabled workers should receive more than Tk 25 lakh, the recoverable injured ones Tk 15 lakh and those with minor injuries Tk 5-10 lakh.
Rights activist Dr Hameeda Hossain, coordinator, Labour Safety Forum, said till the $40 million promised by foreign buyers was collected, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) fund should provide the amount.
She also urged the government to make public the amount donated to the PMO fund for the victims and the amount and persons it has been disbursed among.
BILS programme officer Kohinoor Mahmud gave a presentation, showing that workplace safety, equal wages and working hours are still an issue for female workers, comprising 30 percent of Bangladesh's labour force as per government statistics of 2010.
The situation worsens after the females lose jobs after an accident, she stated.
Over 12 victims of the April 24, 2013 collapse shared how their husbands, in-laws and even mothers cheated them of monetary support provided by individuals during treatment.
BILS members, labour leaders and journalists present also demanded a law with a standard compensation package.