Initiative starts to compensate Tazreen victims

Moinul Haque

The families of Tazreen Fashions fire victims might receive compensation as per the International Labour Organisation standards before the third anniversary of the tragic incident as the C&A Foundation, an affiliate of Dutch retailer C&A, has started its work to develop a distribution methodology.
On the second anniversary of Tazreen Fashions fire tragedy, the C&A Foundation had pledged to contribute a significant amount towards full and fair compensation for those injured in the fire and the families of the dead in a deal with global union IndustriALL and the garment workers’ pressure group Clean Clothes Campaign.
As per the agreement, the compensation amount will be determined based on the system already developed for the Rana Plaza victims.
This system covers compensation for loss of income, provision of independent medical assessments and ongoing treatment.
The C&A Foundation is going to form a co-ordination committee comprising the representatives from the government, Bangladesh Employers Federation, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Industry ALL.
The ILO will act as an adviser to the co-ordination committee, people involved with the process said.
Roy Ramesh Chandra, former secretary general of Industry ALL Bangladesh Council, told New Age that the process would be similar to the Rana Plaza compensation arrangement.
‘The Rana Plaza Claims Administration has already started its work on a financial support scheme for Tazreen workers. Like Rana Plaza, the compensation for the Tazreen fire victims will be estimated following the ILO convention 121,’ he said.
To determine the compensation for the injured workers a medical survey will be conducted by the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed and the institute would issue report on the gravity of injury, Ramesh said.
He said the C&A wants to complete the compensation process before the third anniversary of the tragedy as the retailer remained under pressure from the global trade unions.
‘The C&A Foundation is indeed working with the Rana Plaza Claims Administration, in particular with Mojtaba Kazazi, the chief commissioner of the Rana Plaza Claims Administration, on a financial support scheme for Tazreen workers,’ Thorsten Rolfes, head of corporate communications for C&A Europe, told New Age through an e-mail.
Rolfes said, ‘The Rana Plaza Claims Administration developed a methodology to enable a fair distribution of financial support for the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse. This methodology, which defines the benefits to survivors and families of victims, will also apply to a financial support scheme for the victims of the Tazreen Fashion fire.’
Labour secretary Mikail Shiper told New Age that he came to know about the initiative of the C&A.
‘If they want us to make their part, we can join the initiative,’ he said.
A fire broke out at Tazreen Fashions Ltd at Ashulia of Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on November 24, 2012 that killed at least 114 workers and injured 200 others, mostly women.
Following the tragic fire incident, the C&A Foundation provided immediate monetary support to 112 families of those who lost their lives and established an additional fund to provide monetary support to 49 non-child dependents.
Together with the Caritas Bangladesh, the C&A created a programme to support the children of the victims for a longer term and to provide salary, medical, and psychological support to the injured workers.
The families of Tazreen fire victims earlier received Tk 7 lakh for each deceased from the prime minister, labour ministry, Bankers Association of Bangladesh, Li & Fung, C&A and the BGMEA.
Tazreen workers produced clothing for the US brand Walmart, Kik, Spanish department store El Corte Ingles, Scottish brand Edinburgh Woollen Mill (UK), Piazza Italia, Disney, Sears, Dickies, Delta Apparel and Sean John but none of these brands paid a cent towards the compensation.

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