It has been over hundred days since the tragic incident at Rana Plaza and then The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) along with its partners organized the dialogue titled 100 Days of Rana Plaza Tragedy: A Report on Commitments and Delivery on August 3 where the results of the first monitoring report has been presented for discussion with wider audience. The dialogue is a part of an initiative taken by CPD, in partnership with a number of concerned civil society organizations and individuals, to independently monitor the Rana Plaza tragedy. The monitoring includes an audit of what is being done since the incident and accordingly mounting pressure on key stakeholders so that appropriate and adequate actions are taken.
The report was presented on Saturday, 3 August, at the CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka. In undertaking this initiative CPD is partnering with IAB, Ain o Salish Kendra, Ahsania Mission
ActionAid Bangladesh, CAMPE, TIB, The Daily Star, Naripokkho, Nijera Kori, Prothom Alo, BELA, BLAST, Manusher Jonno Foundation and SUJON. Invaluable recommendations surfaced towards consolidating the efforts from various parts of the society to immediately address the unfulfilled needs of the affected in the Rana Plaza tragedy. Members of Parliament, civil society organizations, representatives from business chambers and trade unions, human rights organizations and legal forums, NGOs and media took part in the discussion.CPD expressed their concerned as the memory of the tragedy started to fade away.
They also mentioned that the pace of delivery on the commitments appears to have lost the momentum. In order to keep the issue alive, and to bring transparency and social and collective accountability in the process of implementing the deliverables, CPD has launched an initiative to follow up and report, on a regular basis, on the delivery status of the commitments made by stakeholders mechanism for labour violations, and ending violence and harassment of labour activists and unions. The key points from the report were as follows
Worst ever industrial accident:
The report starts by showing a statistical presentation on showing major disasters in the manufacturing sector around the world and how many people died from 1800’s to the current timeline. It is distinctive that Rana Plaza has called the highest number of people ever as shown below.
Workers’ Profile revealed:
There was a detailed profile including all the workers from the five garments factories of Rana Plaza in the report. Work experience of workers is shown covering from 3 years of working experience to the freshly employed workers as shown in figure 3. The figure shows that upto 73% workers in a factory in Rana Plaza were of having working tenure of ‘less than one year’. It indicates that workers in Bangladeshi RMG move around factory to factory causing huge workers turn around.
Division and district wise distribution of the dead workers
During the preparation of the report a detailed division wise list of the 834 dead workers were made and submitted in the full report. The breakdown shown in figure 4 shows that most of the workers are from Dhaka division and many of others are from Rangpur, Rajshahi & Khulna division. CPD has presented district wise breakdown as well, that showed that dead workers were mainly from Dhaka, Gaibandha, Rajbari, Rangpur, Manikganj, Shatkhira and Narail. Such pattern shows that most of the workers in garment industries are from less developed districts of the country. This is the indication that working in garment industries could not change their and their families’ living standard.
The report states that a large number of workers are missing since the incident of Rana Plaza. According to the official estimates, a total of 332 workers who were employed in these factories have not been identified. Relatives of the missing workers have authenticated documents such as pay slip, appointment letter, ID cards, etc. in support of their identification. Among the missing workers, 233 were female (70.8 per cent), while another 99 workers are male (29.8 per cent). Media reports show that about 550 people are waiting for the DNA test results and 80 per cent testing of DNA samples has been completed; but the tested specimen could not be matched with the family members due to lack of necessary software.
Family profile of the dead workers
The family status of all the workers died in the collapsed rana plaza has been statistically represented in the full CPD report. Figure 6 shows that a lot of died workers having children back in their families. Females workers are more married that the males and more of them having babies back. The biggest part of both of them unmarried and teen or young having great life potential in front of them.
CPD report also includes in depth analysis and status of the injured workers and their current condition, categorizing the medium to the seriously injured workers. Injured workers were divided into males and females and the injuries they sustained were also mentioned in the report as shown in figure 7.
Slow Progress in Delivery of the Commitments
As a whole CPD identified potential points where things are not moving as expected just after the accident.
- Listing the workers working inside Rana:
CPD states after 100 days into the incident, the BGMEA, which was supposed to come up as the most spontaneous body, was found inactive than the government and other organizations. Though the immediate activities of BGMEA were found to be well-appreciated with the collaborative efforts of all organizations and individuals of the society, BGMEA did not do a lot of work after that as per CPD. The BGMEA is yet to estimate the number of workers who were present during the incident in the five factories located in Rana Plaza. It stated the total number as 2,760 but other reports by a number of organizations say it would be over 3,900. Labour rights organizations and the BGMEA officials said that BGMEA did not have the exact number as the factory owners normally send the data to BGMEA office in every three months and the list of temporary workers is not preserved at the factories. As a result, a number of workers alleged that they did not get the compensation package or benefits.
- Support for re-employment of workers: The BGMEA announced re-employing of 1,107 victims who are fit to work in garments but they did not develop monitoring system to see how many of them have already been re-employed. They did not disclose the number of the re-employed workers so far, the CPD report says. However BGMEA says they are in the process of re-employing them and they will absorb all of them over the time.
- Compensation to the workers/families: About 750 workers did not receive the compensation benefits from the BGMEA because of various complications, mentioned the CPD report. BGMEA did not estimate the workers’ overtime benefits and gave an average amount to the victims upon assumption. They did not take initiative to get the correct work-hour estimation by any means as alleged by CPD.
- Support for the dead workers: About 350 Families of deceased workers did not get the full support as committed earlier and about 330 families of missing workers did not also get the compensation from BGMEA as per CPD report. Other reports says that BGMEA and government has paid compensations to other 782 victims families in last 100 days and payment for others are under process.
- Support for the injured workers: “A major mediumâ€term challenge for the injured workers relates to continuation of their treatment after getting released from the clinic/hospitals. Necessary fund should have been allocated to local national and private clinics to provide free medical treatment for the injured workers. Besides, these workers need longâ€term support till they become fit for work and get back to a job. The announcement of the Prime Minister’s Office to provide Savings Certificates should be implemented immediately. In this context, the amount of the Savings Certificates should be such an amount that it would ensure a monthly income equivalent to 1.5 times of what was earned while they worked in the Rana Plaza.” expected in CPD report. CPD claimed that government should disclose its twoâ€year plan to support the injured workers for their treatment and rehabilitation.
- Support for the missing workers: Families of the missing workers are in a dire state now. Other than a nominal amount of Tk. 15,000, these families did not receive any financial benefits; even these families were deprived of getting the compensation benefit from the BGMEA. CPD urge that it is of high priority to complete the DNA matching process and provide necessary support. In case of delay, authorities should be generous to provide the benefit to all the families of the missing workers for which a list has been prepared. Government should take immediate measure to collect DNA matching kit from USA for which the latter has made its commitment.
- Ensuring Building and Fire Safety: CPD says BGMEA should inform the progress about assessing the building structures based on the soil test report and architectural design. It should immediately set the work plan with the private technical organizations under the tripartite agreement. There should be a separate unit in the RAJUK, DCCA, CCCA and KCCA which will deal with industrial buildings and will give permission about industrial buildings. Localauthorities’ existing power to give permission to industrial buildings should be handed over to the above mentioned authority. However, local authority may continue enjoy its other regulatory authority to set up an industrial building. Considering the limited technical capacity to examine the factory building in the exiting institutions such BUET, government should allocate necessary financial support to extend the operation of these institutions.
- Providing support to take legal actions: Government and concerned authorities should take necessary measures to implement the court directives in case of compensation, support to injured workers, taking legal actions against those who are responsible for the incident, CPD urged. There is a tendency to make dillyâ€dally among the police department in case of completing the investigation against the arrested 22 persons and frame charges. Besides, cases which have been sued by the Department of Law (DoL) seem to be weak as it is not filed by the appropriate person of the department. The DoL should take necessary measures in this regard. Given the severity of the incident, government should not intervene in the legal process and should ensure that other organizations including BGMEA will not try to influence the investigation and chargeâ€framing process.
“Independent Monitoring Report on 100 Days of Rana Plaza Tragedy A Report on Commitments and Delivery” by
1. Dr K G Moazzem
Additional Research Director, CPD,
2. Ms Meherun Nesa,
Research Associate, CPD,
3. Ms Meheruna Islam Chowdhury,
Research Associate, CPD;
4. Ms Farzana Sehrin,
Research Associate, CPD
5. Ms Saifa Raz,