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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Global Retailers fail to agree compensation deal for Bangladesh factory disaster victims

Global retailers have failed to agree a deal to compensate victims of two garment factory accidents in Bangladesh.

A dozen retailers, including British firm Primark, met in Geneva on Wednesday to negotiate the $80 million compensation fund proposed by the global trade union IndustriALL and the International Labour Organization.

The two factory disasters claimed more than 1200 lives, including 1100 from the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex near the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.

Only nine of the brands being produced at the Rana Plaza factory complex were represented at the Geneva meeting.
Among the notable absentees were Benetton, Mango and US giant Walmart, the biggest buyer of garments from Bangladesh.

Some companies are reluctant to make payments to victims of those accidents that could acknowledge their responsibility—and open themselves to lawsuits—for events they believe they couldn't control. Some labor groups counter that apparel companies are broadly responsible even if they weren't producing in the factories at the time of the disasters.

IndustriALL is seeking to establish compensation funds of $74.6m (£47.2m) for the Rana Plaza workers and $6.4m for the Tazreen factory workers which would address loss of earnings, medical and funeral costs, and other expenses of victims and bereaved families.

Those firms present did agree to meet again for further talks with Primark promising to provide a further three months salary to families of the Rana Plaza victims.

To get to the grand total, labor unions and workers' rights groups applied a formula that has been used in previous Bangladesh factory accidents, awarding 25 years of salary plus various bonuses to the families of the deceased victims.

Families of victims could receive about $33,000, a small fortune in the country which is home to the world's second largest garment industry, after China.

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