Bangladesh

Rana Plaza tragedy: Camaïeu targeted by activists

by Nolwenn Weiler

This article was originally published in French. Translation by Darius Barik.

A month and a half on after the Rana Plaza tragedy, what is the state of play regarding the compensation of its victims? The collapse of the building, which had been home to five garment factories, killed 1129 people. Another 1650 people were left injured, many of whom suffered serious injuries or have been left handicapped for life. “Despite the gravity and urgency of the situation, only seven [1] out of the dozens of brands which were carrying out production activities at Rana Plaza have committed to compensating victims”, report the French NGOs Peuples Solidaires /ActionAid and Collectif Éthique sur l’étiquette (Clean Clothes Campaign). NGOs and Bangladeshi and international trade unions estimate that a total of 54 million euros is payable in compensation.

“In France, not one of the brands whose clothing or garment labels have been found amongst the rubble has yet accepted responsibility or committed to contributing to the victim compensation funds”, point out the organisations. Camaïeu, the French retail-clothing company whose labels and a pair of trousers were found in the rubble by local workers’ rights groups, has remained silent in the face of repeated demands from the organisations.

At the initiative of Éthique sur l’étiquette, Peuples Solidaires and Camaïeu’s trade union groups, street action will take place Tuesday 11th June 2013 outside a Camaïeu store in Paris to denounce the negligence of the European multinational companies involved, the local industry and the local authorities. A petition calling for the compensation of the victims, which has been signed by several hundred thousand people, will be submitted to the director of the garment retailer.

In view of the gravity of the Rana Plaza disaster, which has brought to light the disastrous working conditions in the Bangladeshi garment sector, an Agreement on fire safety in the country’s garment factories has been signed by trade unions and NGOs, along with several clothing brands and distribution companies.