It’s now been 6 months since the factory collapse in Bangladesh killing 1,133 people and leaving almost 1,300 injured.
It was a massive disaster and one that opened a lot of eyes to the devastating reality of the garment industry, something that has been going on for far far too long.
What is terrible is the fact that only one retailer using the factory out of over 20 has compensated those working there.
“So far, none of the 4,000 families affected by the Rana Plaza disaster have received the full payments promised by the government or association, says the Bangladesh Institute of Labor Studies” & “94% have not received any legal benefits from their employers, including sick pay or compensation”
Alongside this, those who have survived the ordeal are either too injured to work or heavily traumatized, with ActionAid revealing that “92% of survivors have not gone back to work…Of these, 63% said that physical injuries have prevented them from returning to work”
Furthermore “92% of survivors reported being traumatised, with around half experiencing insomnia and trembling from loud sounds”.
Entire families are having to suffer as a result of the devastating occurrence in Rana Plaza, not just from loss, but also as a result of no longer having an income, and therefore not being able to afford to live, leaving the injured feeling guilt; according to Montreal-based Charlotte Sabbah “They are not only suffering from fear, flashbacks and nightmares, but guilt because they are no longer supporting their children.”
Despite the Rana Plaza disaster, conditions haven’t got much better since with six out of every 10 factories in Bangladesh deemed unsafe (2 months post Rana Plaza collapse), an unacceptable number.
The majority of the focus with these disasters has been around the consumer facing clothing brands involved, but the fact of the matter is, this is a problem across the entire apparel industry, including those supplying on a B2B basis. We feel it’s atrocious, the fact that despite all of this, companies from all sectors are still buying without caring for those producing their products.
This is why we ensure all of our standard lines of garments are Fair Wear Foundation accredited; an independent, non-profit organisation designed to ensure conditions like these are alleviated. The organization works with companies and factories improving labour conditions specifically within garment manufacture; the element of the supply chain normally involving the largest number of people as a result of it’s labour intensive nature. Furthermore, It is also the stage of production where many labour problems are found, and where effective remedies can positively impact the lives of millions of workers.
This ensures the products we supply are having a positive social impact, preventing workers from unfair and unsafe conditions and thereby in turn saving and improving the lives of people globally.
Fair Wear Foundation not only audit factories, but also interviews workers off site prior to visiting factories ensuring all sides are seen, preventing factories from coaching workers or falsifying books (something highlighted in BBC’s Panorama recently), in holding these off site a more honest and accurate reflection of the factory can be gained.
This is deemed as an effective way to improve factories, as well as serving as an indication of performance in upholding Fair Wear Foundation commitments.
The Fair Wear Foundation’s Code of Labour Practices are derived from 8 of the ILO Conventions and the UN’s Declaration on Human Rights, making the Code of Labour Practices internationally recognised standards.
Businesses need to start prioritising making procurement on all levels more ethical, not just with garments. As without businesses buying ethically, industries will remain price focussed, leading to these unsafe conditions and unfair wages, and we will continue to loose lives.
Fair Wear Foundation