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Primark completes structural surveys

Primark has completed its programme of structural surveys in Bangladesh on buildings, housing production of Primark garments. None of the buildings surveyed to date have been found to present a risk to the lives of workers. Where surveys have uncovered the need for remediation, this is now being addressed accordingly.

Primark’s programme began in June 2013, following the collapse of the Rana Plaza building. The surveys have been conducted to the highest international standards by an expert team of structural and civil engineers from specialist engineering and architectural firm Medway Consultancy Services (MCS).

Primark is also a member of the Bangladesh Accord on Building and Fire Safety and was the first UK brand to sign the Accord.

Primark meets its commitments to long-term compensation for Rana Plaza victims

  • $9.0 million long-term payments start to pay out to Primark supply chain workers  
  • Additional $1.0 million payment made to non-Primark supply chain workers, taking total aid  to non-Primark workers of some $3.0 million 
  • Brings total aid and payments to $12 million

Primark is today announcing that it will begin making long-term payments to the 580 workers (or their dependents) of Primark supplier, New Wave Bottoms, which occupied the second floor of the eight storey building, who died, or were injured as a result of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh. The payment will be met in full, in cash, directly by Primark and will amount to some $9.0m. Payments will begin week commencing 17 March.

Primark is also today announcing a further payment of $1.0m to workers in its competitors’ supply chain.  This money will be paid to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund (Trust Fund) chaired by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for distribution.  This is in addition to the some $2.0m which Primark has already distributed to these workers, or their families.

This brings the total that Primark is paying to the victims of Rana Plaza to some $12 million.

Following a very constructive meeting with the ILO in Geneva last week, Primark is making the long-term payments, for purposes of recognition, as compensation under the auspices of the Coordination Committee of the Rana Plaza Arrangement.

In the immediate aftermath of the collapse of Rana Plaza, Primark promised that it would meet its responsibilities in full and that it would pay long-term compensation to the workers, or their dependents, employed in New Wave Bottoms.  Primark has worked diligently with local partners in Bangladesh over an eleven month period to establish a rigorous, sustainable approach to compensation.  It has also liaised closely with the ILO throughout.

Payments are being delivered to victims through the BRAC and Bkash banks, the mechanism used for the distribution of short term financial assistance.

Primark’s work has involved medical and vulnerability assessments, with payments to the injured awarded in the light of these medical assessments. Assessments have been carried out with the support of Dhaka University Institute of Vulnerability Studies and Disaster Management, Dhaka University Medical College, doctors from Complejo Hospitalario Universitario Juan Canalejo (La Coruna, Spain), The Bangladesh National Women’s Lawyers Association, and Naripokkho, Primark’s NGO implementation partner.  Primark would like to thank all these institutions for their support over a lengthy period.

Payments will be made according to the impact of the injury and level of disability resulting from the collapse, and in the case of the dependents of the deceased and missing workers, according to actuarial estimates of lost earnings. Primark also seeks to address the vulnerability of those receiving payments, and their capacity to control and manage large sums of money.  This work is being carried out by The Bangladesh National Women’s Lawyers Association and Naripokkho who will offer, and manage on behalf of Primark, direct assistance and on-going support to vulnerable victims and beneficiaries.

Primark has decided to pay out now to ensure that the New Wave Bottom workers, and their dependents, are paid in full within 12 months.  No further payments should be required for the workers at New Wave Bottoms. Primark’s payments are in addition to the short-term financial assistance provided by Primark for all other workers at Rana Plaza.

In the event that qualifying workers, from New Wave Bottoms, have not yet registered  with Primark, for whatever reason,  Primark confirms its intention to leave both its short term financial assistance and this long-term scheme  open for payments.

A Primark spokesman said:

“We are announcing today that we are paying a total of $12 million as a result of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. Within a week of the collapse, Primark committed to paying long-term compensation to the workers of Primark supplier, New Wave Bottoms, as quickly as possible.  Since then, we have been working to enable the payments to be made.

“With the first anniversary of Rana Plaza fast approaching, we are determined to meet this responsibility to workers in our supply chain.  We are therefore pleased to be in a position to now press ahead with payments.

Primark has also tried to minimise the hardship caused by delay in long term compensation payments reaching all the victims. For that reason we have paid short-term financial assistance equivalent to nine months wages to all 3,600 Rana Plaza workers, most of whom were making clothes for our competitors. We have also announced today a $1.0m payment to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund.

We support the International Labour Organisation in urging other retailers sourcing from Rana Plaza to donate to the Trust Fund, so that it can pay out in full to the remaining victims.”

Update on structural survey programme

Primark began its programme of structural building surveys in June 2013, following the collapse of the Rana Plaza building. The surveys are due to be completed by the end of March 2014.

The surveys are conducted to the highest international standards by an expert team of structural and civil engineers from specialist engineering and architectural firm Medway Consultancy Services (MCS). They cover all buildings that are two storeys and above, housing production of Primark garments.

None of the buildings surveyed to date have been found to present an imminent risk to the lives of workers. Where surveys have uncovered the need for remediation, this is now being addressed.

Primark is also a member of the Bangladesh Accord on Building and Fire Safety and was the first UK brand to sign the Accord. We remain fully committed to its efforts, and will be sharing the results of our surveys with the Accord Chief Safety Inspector, as it begins its own programme of surveys.

Statement from Primark Stores on Rana Plaza

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.”

 

 

 

NEWS UPDATE: Second short-term financial payment received by workers and families of Rana Plaza

Workers and families who registered for the short-term financial assistance provided by Primark have now received the second support payment, equivalent to a further three months’ salary. Payments were made to 3621 workers and their families via the bKash bank (a BRAC bank company). A further 18 workers who remain in hospital will also receive the payment.

The short-term financial support now covers six months’ wages in total since the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in April. It has been offered to all workers including those who made clothing for Primark’s competitors, while the company continues to work in collaboration with NGOs and trade unions on a long-term compensation framework.    Primark has already paid the equivalent of three months’ salary and committed to a second short-term financial payment equivalent to a further three months’ salary as it remained concerned about the length of time it is taking to agree the compensation framework.

To date, Primark will have committed some US$2 million to the food distribution programme and short-term financial support.

NEWS UPDATE: Primark registers further workers of Rana Plaza, provides further short-term financial aid

On 13th September 2013, Primark, in co-operation with trade union IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, held a further event in Dhaka, Bangladesh to register 296 workers for short-term financial aid.  This follows previous events in June and July where 3333 workers registered for the support provided by Primark (equivalent to three months’ wages), and brings the total number of workers registered to 3,602. This support now covers six months’ wages in total since the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in April. It has been offered to all workers including those who made clothing for Primark’s competitors, while the company works in collaboration with NGOs and trade unions on a long-term compensation framework.

On 12th September 2013, retailers who were present in Rana Plaza, were invited to attend a tripartite meeting at the International Labour Organisation in Geneva to discuss arrangements for the long-term compensation. Only nine retailers were reported as attending, out of some 28 retailers who were being supplied by factories in the Rana Plaza building.

Following the meeting, Primark committed to a second short-term financial payment equivalent to a further three months’ salary, as it remains concerned about the length of time it is taking to agree the compensation framework. The company has already paid the equivalent of three months’ salary. To date, Primark will have committed some US$1.5 million to the food distribution programme and short-term financial support.

 

ITV: Primark pledges more compensation to Bangladesh victims

BBC Online: No deal on Bangladesh garment disaster damages

Bloomberg: Primark almost alone in giving aid to Bangladesh victims