A mourner in front of the Rana Plaza factory site, August 2, 2013 (Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/Getty)
Two companies have announced that they will provide long-term compensation to victims of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse and their families. More than 1,100 workers were killed when the Bangladesh factory, where clothes sold by both Loblaw and Primark were manufactured, collapsed six months ago.
In addition to long-term compensation, Loblaw said today that it will pay three months of wages to all workers at New Wave Style, the company that makes its Joe Fresh clothing, CBC News reports. Loblaw says the money "will assist in financial needs until long-term funds begin to flow."
Irish clothing retailer Primark also announced plans to further compensate victims of the clothing factory disaster. The company provided emergency aid to Rana Plaza workers soon after the disaster, making payments to all 3,621 workers who were injured in the collapse.
Now 550 workers from Primark supplier New Wave Bottoms, or their dependents, will start receiving long-term benefits in early 2014, according to the retailer.
Until that money comes through, the company has extended short-term aid, and also plans to provide three months' salary immediately to about 3,600 victims.
At the moment, there is no word on exactly how much Primark and Loblaw's plans will cost. A Primark spokesperson said the amount will depend on the individual needs of workers and departments.
News of the compensation comes amid reports that promised inspections of other garment factories have failed to take place.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that despite pledges by western retailers and the Bangladesh government following the Rana Plaza collapse, "not a single Bangladeshi garment factory has been inspected under any of the three programs that sprung from those promises."
Two weeks ago, a fire at a clothing factory in a Dhaka suburb, the Aswad Composite Mills, led to the deaths of nine workers, and street demonstrations over safety conditions and wages have stalled production at other facilities. Currently, standard wages for a garment worker are set at $39 per month before overtime.
One set of inspections is scheduled to begin: an initiative called the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, led by European retailers including H&M, is sending its first international staff members to the country next week.
But the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, which is made up mainly of North American retailers (including Canadian Tire, Hudson's Bay Company, the Gap, Wal-Mart and Target), says it's still working on a list of factories where goods are manufactured for its member companies, and that it has no staff in place in Bangladesh.
Many individual companies are conducting independent audits of their suppliers, but the lack of clear, universal safety standards is complicating efforts to ensure safe working conditions, Bloomberg reports.
Via CBC News