Primark Boosts Aid to Bangladesh Victims as Other Companies Balk

Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh | Source: Flickr

GENEVA, Switzerland — Primark, the budget fashion chain owned by Associated British Foods Plc, will pay all victims of the collapsed Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh more short-term financial aid after talks today with other brands fell short of a more permanent resolution advocated by unions.

Representatives of retailers, labor unions and non- governmental organizations met in Geneva over the previous two days to discuss compensation for those killed or injured in two factory disasters in Bangladesh. Yesterday’s talks centered on this year’s collapse of the Rana Plaza factory, which killed more than 1,000 people in the nation’s worst industrial accident.

“Consumers will be shocked that almost a half year has passed since the Rana Plaza disaster, with only one brand so far providing any compensation to the disaster’s victims,” said Monika Kemperle, assistant general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, in an e-mailed statement. “I respect those brands that came to these meetings. But I cannot understand brands that are not around the table.”

IndustriALL said it, along with the Workers Rights Consortium and Clean Clothes Campaign, proposed a model for compensation to pay for pain, suffering and loss of income. The amount needed for the Rana Plaza victims would be about $74.6 million, it said, adding that clothing brands have been asked to contribute $33.6 million of that amount. Nine of the 29 brands that were invited attended the meeting, according to IndustriALL.

Primark will pay salaries to all the factory’s workers and their families for three months, declining to disclose the amount. That follows earlier payments and food aid of about $1 million to victims and their families. The company has registered the details of 3,333 workers as part of the program, the statement said.

Also yesterday, C&A Group said it had allocated 1 million euros ($1.3 million) in total to support the long-term needs of victims of a fire at the Tazreen plant, an earlier industrial incident.

By Gabi Thesing; Editors: Celeste Perri, Molly Schuetz