Rana Plaza victims face $ 6m compensation shortfall

Victims of Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster are suffering a $6 million shortfall in a compensation fund two years after the tragedy that claimed more than 1,100 lives, fund organisers said on Monday.

Organisers of the trust fund estimated that $30 million in compensation was needed after the collapse of the Rana Plaza Rana plaza222factory complex, where workers stitched clothes for Western retailers for poor pay.

On the eve of the second anniversary of the disaster this Friday, organisers of the trust set up by the retailers and labour groups said $24 million had been paid or pledged to families of those killed.

“Still we’ve a shortfall of around $6 million,” Mojtaba Kazazi, executive director of the trust’s claims administration, told AFP.

Sultan Uddin Ahmed, a member of a committee that runs the trust fund, criticised retailers for not doing enough for dependants along with 1,500 workers who suffered horrific injuries in the disaster.

“It is unfortunate, we could not clear all the dues in two years. Some of the world’s top retailers were making apparel at the factories. Yet the trust fund is still short of $6 million,” Ahmed said.

“Bangladeshi factory owners are also to blame. They did not pay anything to the fund,” he said.

The collapse of the nine-storey complex on April 24, 2013 triggered international outrage and put pressure on European and US brands to improve pay and appalling conditions at Bangladesh’s 4,500 garment factories.

Bangladesh is the world’s second largest garment exporter and the industry is a mainstay of its economy.

Last week Italian fashion retailer Benetton announced it would pay $1.1 million into the trust fund.

Benetton, which initially denied using any firms located in Rana Plaza, said it was donating double the amount advised by experts.

But campaigners claim about a dozen clothing companies linked to the Rana Plaza factories have yet to pay any compensation money.