The governments of seven European countries have asked retailers to immediately put in their contributions to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund as the victims are yet to receive adequate compensation more than one year after the deadly industrial disaster.
The message came in a joint statement from the governments of the Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy and Spain, read out by Liliane Ploumen, Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, at a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris last week.
“We recommend that companies that sourced in Rana Plaza contribute to the established trust fund… immediately, and we invite all companies irrespective of whether they have any sourcing links to Rana Plaza to also contribute,” she told the OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct on June 26.
“Finally, we also urge the government of Bangladesh and the BGMEA to increase their contribution and ensure their public accountability.”
The trust fund needs $40 million to fully compensate the victims, but has only received $17 million so far, nearly half of which has been given by one company alone, British retailer Primark, the statement said.
Of the $17 million, $4 million has already been disbursed to the victims, according to Roy Ramesh Chandra, secretary general of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, the local chapter of IndustriALL, the global union federation which was instrumental in drafting in the trust fund.
“It is frustrating that the brands and retailers are not paying the compensation even after 14 months of the accident.”
Chandra said the annual turnover of the 29 retailers that sourced from the factories housed in the ill-fated building is $22 billion, so if they contribute even 0.2 percent of their annual profits, it will be possible to adequately compensate the victims.
Alan Duncan, UK secretary of state for international development, said he has written to all British brands associated with Rana Plaza, urging them to make immediate and significant payments to the trust fund.
Meanwhile, Srinivasa Reddy, the ILO country director for Bangladesh, yesterday said a three-member delegation from ILO headquarters in Geneva is calling in Bangladesh on July 9 to assist in working out a just compensation for the victims.
“Basically, the delegation will assess the whole compensation process for more than 3,600 workers. They will not assess the compensation process of any particular company or individual. The delegation will provide assistance on how to determine the compensation for the victims.”