UN-backed fund reaches $30 million target to compensate victims of Bangladesh factory collapse

Workers in a Ready-made Garments factory in Bangladesh.
ILO Bangladesh
Workers in a Ready-made Garments factory in Bangladesh.

UN-backed fund reaches $30 million target to compensate victims of Bangladesh factory collapse

Set up in October 2013 with assistance from the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee has announced that it met its $30 million target so that it can pay out full compensation to the victims and families of a deadly factory collapse in Bangladesh that claimed more than 1, 100 lives and left scores of others injured.

Representing all industry stakeholders, the Committee estimated that $30 million was required to ensure fair and equitable compensation, according to ILO Conventions, to all victims of the 2013 tragedy. Full payments are expected to be made in the coming weeks to cover the victims’ income loss and medical costs.

In a press statement, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said he is encouraged by the achievement but that more work must be done; “this is a milestone, but we still have important business to deal with. We must now work together to ensure that accidents can be prevented in the future.”

By April 2015 – the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza accident – in excess of $27M had been raised and the Committee had paid out 70 per cent of the awards promised to more than 2,800 claimants. Further donations, including one significant sum pledged late last week, tipped the scale to meet the $30 million goal, so that all final payments be made.

As chair of the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee, ILO has supported the design of one harmonized arrangement for all of the accident victims. In January 2014, the ILO established the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund to bolster the Committee’s effort to finance the programme.

The action taken by the Bangladesh Government, the country’s employers, workers, international brands, trade unions and non-governmental organizations on the Committee have ensured that fair compensation can now be awarded.

Although Bangladesh does not currently have a national employment injury insurance system to protect accident victims at work, ILO is engaging with the Government; employers’ and workers’ organizations; donors; and industry partners to establish one.

Mr. Ryder affirmed the importance that “a robust national employment injury insurance scheme is established so that victims of any future accidents will be swiftly and justly compensated and cared for.”

In this context, the full implementation of the Rana Plaza Arrangement within a two year period will represent a very significant step forward.