Rana Plaza: Primark called on to pay up as launch date of payments announced

14.03.2014

· 24th March announced as launch date for processing claims · Primark called upon to urgently pay into the Rana Plaza Trust Fund

IndustriALL, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign are today welcoming the launch of the Rana Plaza Arrangement claims process, which will officially commence on the 24th March. They are now calling on brands to contribute to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund and ensure families of those killed and injured at Rana Plaza finally get the money they are owed.

The claims processing will be carried out from an office based in Savar, the town where the Rana Plaza building was located. Potential beneficiaries will be contacted directly and invited to come to the office to make their claim. A pre-claim legal team will work with each claimant to ensure they fully understand what claims can be made for and how they will be decided. A hotline in Savar will be launched at the same time to respond to any questions or enquiries about the claims process. It is expected that first payments will be provided by the first anniversary of the disaster.

Payments made under the Arrangement will be funded through the Rana Plaza Donor's Trust Fund, which has been collecting contributions from brands sourcing from Bangladesh in general and Rana Plaza in particular. The Fund was opened at the beginning of February, with an initial target of $10 million, believed to be the amount needed to pay first instalments to all the potential claimants. $40 million is needed in total to cover full payments to over 3000 workers and families of those killed.

Since its launch in February the Fund has garnered widespread support. The Ethical Trading Initiative, the Bangladesh Accord Foundation and the Business Social Compliance Initiative have all issued appeals to their members calling on them to contribute to the Fund. Seven brands; Bon Marche, El Corte Ingles, Inditex, Mango, Mascot, Loblaw and Premier Clothing have all publicly pledged initial donations.

However there is a long way to go before the $40 million needed to make payments to all workers is found. Primark remains notably absent from the list of donors, despite their involvement in the development of the Arrangement and their previous commitment to provide full and fair compensation to Rana Plaza workers through a single, unified scheme. They are the only signatory company of the Arrangement yet to make a contribution.

IndustriALL, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign are today calling on Primark and the other brands sourcing from Rana Plaza to fulfil their commitments and to immediately pledge funds the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund so that the victims and families of the horrific disaster receive compensation by the 24th April.

IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Jyrki Raina stated:

As we are happy to see the Arrangement roll out on 24 March, it is now time for Primark to go back from zero to hero in its response to the industrial homicide at Rana Plaza. Stop delaying the process and join the other companies in a single approach based on international standards. Pay into the Trust Fund to secure  a historic, comprehensive compensation solution for all victims.

UNI Global Union general secretary Philip Jennings said:

This arrangement is good news for the families of Rana Plaza victims who have waited too long for compensation. A transparent and coordinated approach is far stronger than a handful of separate voluntary corporate schemes. Companies need to commit and pay up. 

Clean Clothes Campaign’s Ineke Zeldenrust added:

The Rana Plaza victims have waited long enough – with the launch of the claims process we hope that families suffering as a result of the disaster will finally get what they deserve before the first anniversary. We are now calling on Primark and all the other brands linked to Rana Plaza to stop delaying and pay up.

NOTES

1.     The Rana Plaza Arrangement is an agreement signed by a wide range of stakeholders including the Bangladesh government, the Bangladesh Garment Manfuacturers and Exporters Association, the Bangladesh Employers Federation, global brands (Loblaw, El Corte Ingles, Bon Marche and Primark), IndustriALL Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Institute of Labor Studies, IndustriALL Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign. www.ranaplaza-arrangement.org

2.     The Arrangement signatories commit to work together to deliver a single, credible and transparent process, based in international standards and Bangladesh law, to deliver payments to the victims, their families and dependents in order to cover financial losses and medical costs suffered as a result of the Rana Plaza collapse in April 2013.

3.     The implementation of the Arrangement is overseen by a multi-stakeholder committee consisting of the majority of the signatories. They have designed the newly launched scheme with support and advice of international recognized experts. The Committee is chaired by the UN Agency, the International Labour Organisation. See www.ranaplaza-arrangement.org/mou/governance

4.     The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund was established, with the ILO as Trustee, in February 2014 as a way of funding the claims submitted by the Rana Plaza victims. See www.ranaplaza-arrangement.org/fund for more info and a list of current donors.

5.     In February 2014 the Clean Clothes Campaign, IndustriALL and UNI launched the “Pay Up” campaign calling on all Rana Plaza brands to donate to the Fund. See http://www.cleanclothes.org/ranaplaza

6.     The ILO is a UN Agency, whose mission is to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues. It operates a tripartite structure which brings together government, employers and labour to ensure all voices are represented in the setting on international standards and developing policies and programmes. http://www.ilo.org/

For more information contact:

Tom Grinter, IndustriALL Global Union: +41 796934499, [email protected]

Mike Sunderland, UNI Global Union: +41 79 701 90 49, [email protected]

Sam Maher, Clean Clothes Campaign: +44 751 751 6943, [email protected]