Although it did take a while - two years and two months to be exact - the trust fund to provide adequate compensation for the victims and survivors of the Rana Plaza textile factory disaster in Bangladesh finally hit is target of 30 million dollars (19.6 million pounds), thanks to a significant anonymous donation.
The fund, which was established not long after the factory collapse, was reportedly 2.4 million dollars short of its target before the donation, according to the Clean Clothes Campaign which has been asking for brands and retailers to provide compensation to the families of the victims. The organization was disappointed at the number of fashion retailers who failed to donate sufficient funds for the victims - especially Benetton, who gave 1.6 million dollars after much insistence even though the CCS had expected at least 5 million dollars from the Italian fashion group.
"This day has been long in coming. Now that all the families impacted by this disaster will finally receive all the money that they are owed, they can finally focus on rebuilding their lives. This is a remarkable moment for justice," said Ineke Zeldenrust from the Clean Clothes Campaign. "This would not have been possible without the support of citizens and consumers across Europe who stuck with the campaign over the past two years. Together we have proved once again that European consumers do care about the workers who make their clothes – and that their actions really can make a difference."
A portion of the compensation fund has already been handed out to the victims and survivors family, enabling to the cover part of their medical expenses and lost earnings. Soon they will be paid out the remaining amount. According to the Rana Plaza Arrangement, each worker who was injured in the incident and any family member who was dependent on the income of a worker killed, has the right to file a claim for lost earnings and medical expenses. The distribution of the amount was calculated by a committee of international apparel brands, nationals and international trade unions NGOs, the government in Bangladesh and its local apparel industry. Last November it became clear that a total of 30 million dollars was needed to pay out the 5,000 plus claims.
"This is a huge victory – but its been too long in the making," added Zeldenrust. "That brands with a collective annual profit of over 20 billion dollars (13.09 billion pounds) took two years and significant public pressure to come up with a mere 30 million dollars is an indictment of the voluntary nature of social responsibility. We now need to look at ways to ensure that access to such remedy is provided by brands and retailers as a matter of course, and not only when public outrage makes doing nothing impossible."