Two years ago, the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh, collapsed, taking with it the lives of 1,136 workers.
The collapse of the eight-story building on April 24, 2013, shook the garment industry and the world, throwing worker safety into the limelight as a collective call to action was made to fix the ills of the industry.
Yet today, there remains a lot to still be done.
“Significant progress has been made but many challenges remain,” said Ms Tomoko Nishimoto, International Labour Organization’s Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.
Nishimoto said the government needs to complete its inspections of factories, verify that factories claiming to be closed are actually closed and deal with factories that refuse to cooperate.
Less than three-quarters of the factory inspections, which assess structural and fire safety, are finished, according to HE Md. Mujibul Haque MP, State Minister, Ministry of Labour and Employment.
“Continuous efforts have been made by the Government of Bangladesh and its partners over the last two years to transform our apparel industry,” Hague said.
However, despite the progress made by government, the industry itself needs to do a better job in showing its commitment to change, according to the IndustriALL Global Union.
“Two years after this industrial homicide, the victims of Rana Plaza are still waiting for full compensation. This is a collective responsibility, but we specifically call upon brands like Benetton, Mango, Walmart and Carrefour to contribute more,” said IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Jyrki Raina.
The union said the compensation fund established for the victims of Rana Plaza is still missing $6 million of the $30 million needed to compensate victims.
“The global garment industry needs to show to its consumers that it has learned its lesson and is able to move on to addressing another burning question, the poverty wages paid to workers,” Raina said.