Canada govt urged to support Rana Plaza survivors

Reuters . Toronto
A file photo shows rescue workers carrying a garment worker who was pulled alive from the rubble three days after the Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24, 2013. — Reuters photo

A file photo shows rescue workers carrying a garment worker who was pulled alive from the rubble three days after the Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24, 2013. — Reuters photo

A group of more than 50 Canadian organisations, including labour unions, is urging the Canadian government to ask domestic companies to give to a trust fund for the survivors of a disastrous garment factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 people nearly a year and a half ago.
As of September 1, a fund set up for more than 2,500 injured workers and families of the dead has raised less than half its $40 million target, according to The Maquila Solidarity Network, a labour and women’s rights group that helped organise the effort.
The organisers are making the renewed push as the first instalment of the compensation will be distributed this month and early next month.
The group also wants the government to match contributions to the fund by Canadian companies and organisations, it said in an open letter to Canada’s ministers of international trade and international development.
Loblaw Co Ltd, whose apparel brand ‘Joe Fresh’ had clothing made in the plaza, is the only Canadian company that has contributed to the trust fund, the organisers said, noting that a number of US and European companies with no ties to the Rana Plaza building have given to the fund.
In the past, some of the brands supplied by the factory complex said they would not contribute as their production was outsourced to the factory without their knowledge, or ended some time ago, while others preferred to pursue their own compensation plans.
Ultra-low wages and trade deals have made Bangladesh’s garments sector a $22 billion industry that accounts for four-fifths of the country’s exports.

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