It has been two months more than 6 months already, and except for Primark and its well planned bKash initial relief fund transfer twice directly to the victims and their families (BDT15000 x 2), no other tangible/real action has been taken yet. The wait is longer than any consignment ever takes to reach the shores of rich markets for occasions of love and compassion – just like Christmas 2013 that is ahead of us.
An ex-Rana Plaza worker (now an injured victim) questions, “… are we not to be remembered or helped by those we worked for? Were we not a part of the effort we put together for all of our sakes? We went inside the building that day because there was a deadline we had to meet … now we are in shatters and our pain is extreme. Where is the deadline for the buyers to help us? … “We love our buyers as we have always had them as family, we love those who wear what we stitch – we care for them with our every effort. I hear this winter they will celebrate with their children. Will they forget the hundreds of children now orphaned?”
Big Western Brands like Walmart, Sears, Children’s Place nor any of the other US sellers of goods produced at Rana Plaza has agreed to contribute to the efforts of compensation. A chilling display of ignorance by brands who claim to serve middle class working families (such as Walmart) and those who are there to cloth children (Children’s Place). If these brands are ignorant of the pain suffered by ordinary working families of their own supply chain and their orphaned children, an obvious question does arise of their true “care” for ordinary people who back in their countries make up their target market.
It is surprising that these super-rich brands reject heartlessly the possibility of giving aide to poor workers of their own supply chain. There have been many concepts trying to understand this behavior, and among these ideas there is a concept that Brands fear a precedent being set if they come for help to the victims who worked on their apparels, which on the long run might cause them more losses and worst still may make them more answerable to workers and media over emergencies such as the Savar Tragedy (Rana Plaza) or the Tazreen Tragedy. However, this has been repeatedly argued by trade unions, local and international NGOs, media and the common workers themselves where it has been reiterated that taking responsibility is a must! This is part of a greater responsibility of any business firm serving a section of humanity, and only this step can bright their image to the high levels of respect which they desire to achieve and strive hard to protect. Taking the ethical step of caring for their workers along with strong steps helping factories to be more compliant and worker friendly, the possibilities for efficiency and productivity are endless.
Since 8 months now, a shrinking number Rana Plaza victims/families continuously arrive near the spot of the collapse with tears in their eyes. For some, the only earning member of the family is no more. For others, they were not fortunate enough even to see the face of their loved ones for the last time, and those dead bodies still remain missing.
A growing number of Rana Plaza victims are now back in their hometowns or villages where they are trying to survive as it is almost impossible to do so in Dhaka, the most expensive city of Bangladesh.
The victims of Rana Plaza and their families have gratefully received the initial relief from Primark, but await a proper compensation by buyers whom their daughters and sons have served till their last breath. A help that can at least ensure their livelihood – a livelihood for which they have paid a priceless price.
Rana Plaza Victims … Their helpless families … Their Orphans … wait for the warmth of their rights, in the chill of the first winter without their loved one beside them….