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Protest held to mark first anniversary of Rana Plaza factory disaster

Protest held to mark first anniversary of Rana Plaza factory disaster
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On the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh, former workers and families of the over 1,100 people who died have gathered for a protest to demand the punishment of those responsible.

A fund set up by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is dealing with victim compensation and has said only around €10.8 million has been raised so far.

The contribution from around 30 western retailers linked to the factory has been described by the ILO as “woefully inadequate”.

Runa Islam, the sister of one the disaster’s victims, described how she received money through a mobile phone based payment system. First she received “€137 and then another transfer of €458. That’s all we got,” she says.

‘The assets of the building owner must be confiscated and those of the companies that use the factories that produce the clothes,’ says Lovely Yesmin, the president of Bangladesh Textile-Garments Workers’ Federation. She adds that “the money should be used to compensate the families of the injured, dead, maimed and missing workers.”

More than 2,500 people were rescued in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the nine story factory complex in Dhaka, but hundreds remain missing and nearly 100 bodies remain unidentified.

The disaster forced Western brands to launch new safety inspections. The Bangladeshi government has also said it is committed to increasing wages and enforcing better work regulations.