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Fashion Retailers Step Up to Help Victims of Factory Collapse

Image via Flickr by constant progression

On April 24, an 8-story factory just outside Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, collapsed, killing 380 workers and injuring many more. Suppliers for several fashion retailers were leasing space in the building, including Primark (a subsidiary of Associated British Foods), Loblaws, Matalan, and Bonmarche. The building was known as the Rana Plaza complex. One of Primark’s suppliers, Simple Approach, had contracted New Wave to produce garments for the fashion retailer. New Wave workers were located on the second floor of the building when it collapsed.

Primark issued an email accepting responsibility to aid the victims of the accident, both now and in the future. Its plans include offering long-term aid to children who lost their parents in the collapse, financial assistance to workers injured during the collapse, and payments to those family members who lost loved ones. Primark is calling upon other fashion retailers which had operating factories in the building to do the same.

Fashion retailer Loblaws has also indicated its willingness to compensate victims. Through its spokesperson Julija Hunter, Loblaws has committed to delivering support to the victims and their families in, “the best and most meaningful way.” She said the company is committed to providing benefits to relieve the suffering, “both now and in the future.”

In addition to the compensation provided to the victims and their families, Primark is also studying how to prevent a similar event from happening in the future. They are examining their suppliers that operate on multi-floor buildings, especially those with multiple tenants on different floors.

The company also plans to ask the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) to look into the issue. According to the email released by Primark, it’s not a matter of whether or not the issue of multi-floor, multi-tenant buildings such as the Rana Plaza should be tested, but how this process should be done.

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