Following the two year anniversary of Rana Plaza last week, there are still many reports of garment worker welfare incidences coming from Bangladesh. This week alone:
• 15 women were injured and 7 were shot and injured in a protest about outstanding due wages
• 100 workers were hospitalised after drinking unclean water at the factory in which they were working
• 5 workers were injured in a garment factory fire
Such instances signal that despite increased efforts since the Rana Plaza building collapse to improve the health, safety and working conditions for garment workers, there is still much left to do.
But what can fashion consumers in Europe do about the situation of garment workers in Bangladesh?
The 24th April 2015, marked the second anniversary of the tragic Rana Plaza building collapse which killed 1,134 garment workers and injured over 2,000. It also marked a significant increase in the compensation fund for Rana Plaza victims. After two years of campaigning, the Rana Plaza Trust fund is now just $2.7 million dollars away from being completely funded. On the first anniversary of the disaster only $17m of the $30m needed had been funded. This April, on the second anniversary, this funding has jumped to $27.3m. This is thanks to the numerous campaigning groups such as Fair Trade organisations and Labour Behind the Label, War on Want, Clean Clothes Campaign and International Labour Rights Forum who continue to advocate and raise awareness of these issues. It is also thanks to the growing public support of these campaigns. Everyone who has signed petitions; shared these campaigns; tweeted; Facebooked and protested. There are still many changes to be made within the fast fashion industry, but we can be reassured that through our purchasing power and by continuing to support public campaigns, that these actions are really making a difference!
Owen Espley, Economic Justice campaigner at War on Want said, “hundreds of thousands of people have taken action in solidarity with the victims of Rana Plaza: ‘never again’ has been the demand and never again can the fashion industry claim the public is uninterested in the conditions of the workers who make our clothes. When we stand united, we have the power to transform an industry that is too often based upon exploitation”
The fight for justice for the Rana Plaza victims is not over yet, while monetary compensation will never be able to compensate for the loss and devastation the victims and their families suffered, with continued pressure, we can at least ensure the victims get all of the $30m they are entitled to.
It is possible for the public to also donate to this compensation fund, if you wish to do so, please find out more here.
War On Want Rana Plaza anniversary video: