Retailers shy away from compensation
All but one of the 29 international retailers that sourced from factories housed at Rana Plaza are yet to donate any money to the trust fund for victims of the building collapse.
So far, only $15 million has been collected in the trust fund managed by the International Labour Organisation against the required amount of $40 million. Of the 29 retailers, only British retailer Primark has put in $10 million.
Roy Ramesh Chandra, general secretary of the local arm of IndustriALL, a global union federation, which initiated the trust fund to compensate the victims according to ILO Convention 121, said another 14 retailers have agreed to contribute to the trust fund but have not yet.
As per ILO Convention 121, a dead worker's family is due to receive nearly Tk 29 lakh and each of the permanently disabled and injured workers Tk 42 lakh and Tk 14 lakh respectively.
He said the ILO started giving out compensations from the trust fund yesterday; Tk 50,000 for each of the victims was dispatched in the first phase.
In addition to the 29 retailers, IndustriALL also wrote to the 150 signatories of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh for their benevolent contribution to the fund.
“We will continue our campaign on both the domestic and international front until all retailers contribute to the fund.”
Chandra also said the amount disbursed to the victims from the Prime Minister's relief fund will not be merged with the trust fund. So far, a total of Tk 23.55 crore has been disbursed from the Prime Minister's fund.
But, Mikail Shipar, secretary to the ministry of labour and employment, said the money that has been disbursed so far from the Prime Minister's relief fund will be considered as compensation money.
“We do not have a plan for a separate compensation package,” he added.
The highest compensation recommended by a national committee headed by MM Akash, an economics teacher at Dhaka University, is Tk 14.5 lakh.