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Families hold candlelit vigil at Rana Plaza site six months on

24 October, 2013Families of workers who died during the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh have held a candlelit vigil to mark six months since the day the tragedy occurred.

The families were joined at the site of the former factory by survivors as well as national trade unions, IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union.

Rana Plaza, a structurally flawed building containing five garment factories and seven floors came down on 24th April, killing 1,129 people. More than 300 bodies are still to be identified, whilst thousands of workers have suffered injuries. 

In the aftermath of the disaster, IndustriALL and UNI signed an agreement with international brands committing to transform the safety of the Bangladeshi garment industry. In a world first, 103 brands have signed the Accord, and 1600 garment factories are covered by new safety regulations. 

IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina said, “We are lighting candles to remember more than a thousand lights that went out on this day six months ago.

“Tomorrow, with renewed vigour, we will strive to put the processes in place to ensure the safety of millions of garment workers in Bangladesh.”

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said, “Today, we remember each of the 1,129 people who died six months ago. We stand united with families at this site, which has come to symbolise all that is wrong with the business practices of so many rich global brands. 

“The Accord now covers more than 1600 factories and will provide safety for millions of workers. This new dawn rose out of these ruins, and we will never forget it.”

UNI and IndustriALL are shocked that after six months Primark is the only brand to have paid anything to the victims. Primark worked with local trade unions, organised through the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC), to establish the mechanism for distribution of compensation payments to over 3,600 workers and families.