Six months after the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, Primark is announcing today that it will take further unilateral steps to deliver long-term compensation to victims, or their dependents, of the disaster.

Specifically, the company is planning the following:

First, the company has now set a timetable for beginning long-term compensation payments to the workforce (or their dependents) of New Wave Bottoms, the supplier that was housed in Rana Plaza and which was producing clothing for Primark at the time.

This long-term compensation scheme has been devised by the company with assistance from external experts, and involves medical and vulnerability assessments. These assessments will be carried out  with the support of Dhaka University Department of Vulnerability Studies and Disaster management, Dhaka University medical faculty, independent doctors, along with the unions and our NGO implementation partners.

The company’s scheme has been tabled with the ILO. Other retail brands are considering whether to adopt this scheme as an industry-wide framework for delivering compensation.

However, given the time it is taking to reach agreement on this industry-wide framework, the company is today continuing to press ahead with the scheme in order to deliver compensation to New Wave Bottoms workers, and their dependents without further delay.

Second, the company is committing today to making a third short-term financial payment to the New Wave Bottom workers, or their dependents. This assistance will provide some relief while long-term compensation plans are finalised. The company has already made similar short-term payments, given the delay in reaching agreement on the long-term scheme (see notes to editors).

Thirdly, Primark is calling on other brands involved in the Rana Plaza disaster to make a contribution by paying short-term aid to the 3,600 workers (or their dependents) who made clothes for their labels. To date these workers have been supported by Primark, even though the workers involved did not make clothing for the company but for its competitors.

The purpose of this payment would be to alleviate hardship while these brands continue to deliberate on long-term compensation. However, if the other 27 brands who sourced in Rana Plaza fail to make this contribution, Primark is pledging today that it will consider paying another three months wages to all the workers concerned.

 

A spokesman said: Within a week of the collapse of Rana Plaza, Primark committed to paying long-term compensation to the victims of the disaster as quickly as possible.  Since then, the Company has been working consistently to create a framework that can be adopted by other retail brands.

This work now enables it to be confident that it can start to pay compensation early in 2014.  Primark will make the framework available to other retailers who sourced from Rana Plaza to facilitate their compensation plans.  In the meantime, Primark will pay a further 3 months salary to the 3,600 or so victims of Rana Plaza to alleviate their immediate hardship, many of whom worked in the supply chain of other brands.

 

The Company calls on other brands sourcing from Rana Plaza to now contribute a fair share of this tranche of aid.”