Compensation awarded to Bangladeshi apparel workers
by Brian Collett — Compensation has finally been paid to all the workers injured and the dependants of those killed in the Tazreen Fashions fire in Bangladesh four years after the tragedy.
The organisers of the campaign set up to gather claims, conduct medical assessments, calculate the compensation and distribute payments say their work is now complete.
The blaze that destroyed the garment factory in November 2012 killed 113 workers and injured nearly 200.
Last year a claims trust was established after an agreement reached in 2014 by the Dutch retail fashion chain C&A, the IndustriALL Global Union, and the C&A Foundation in Switzerland and the Amsterdam-based Clean Clothes Campaign, both of which work for better garment industry conditions.
The trust has paid more than 167m Bangladeshi taka ($2.14m, £1.63m, €1.95m) to 582 members of the dead and missing workers’ families and to 174 employees still suffering from injuries sustained.
It will now transfer $350,000 (£267,000, €319,000) to another trust being established in Dhaka to arrange treatment for workers injured and traumatised in the Tazreen fire and the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy, in which a multi-factory building collapsed killing 1,130 and injuring 2,500.
The organisers hope this trust will be a permanent referral service for employees suffering workplace injuries.
Liana Foxvog, communications director of the International Labor Rights Forum, a Washington DC-based body formed to help the working poor, said: “We are pleased that the injured workers and families of the deceased have finally received these payments, which will keep them out of the most dire forms of poverty, although the payments are based on the very low wages common in the garment industry and therefore remain relatively small.”
Contributors to the Tazreen trust included the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Fund, the German store chain KiK and Walmart. Brands whose clothing was made at Tazreen but which failed to contribute included Dickies, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Karl Rieker, Piazza Italia, Sears, Soffe and Teddy Smith.
Foxvog said: “It remains disappointing that most of the companies whose clothes were produced at Tazreen never acknowledged their responsibility and paid nothing at all."
Some bereaved Tazreen families are now demanding prosecutions.
Photo: Tazreen Claim Trust Administration