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Last-minute deal struck for Rana Plaza payouts

All victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, or their families, will receive the first tranche of compensation by April 24 - the anniversary of the disaster -
after an 11th hour agreement was reached this week.

From March 24, each survivor or family member of someone who died will receive BDT 50,000 (£386). The factory collapse killed 1,129 people and
injured around 2,515.

Further compensation, which will be paid out of the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund chaired by the International Labour Organization (ILO), will follow
as retailers’ donations reach the $40m (£24m) total.

The Co-ordination Committee of the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, a multistakeholder group including retailers, unions, government representatives and NGOs, took hours longer than scheduled to reach the decision, which aims to treat all workers fairly.

Conversations around the fairness of compensation were prompted by an announcement this week from Primark, in which it pledged a further $9m (£5.4m) to the 580 victims or their dependents who were working for its supplier New Wave Bottoms.

Although a further $1m (£600,000) is being paid into the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, there were concerns of a disparity between the victims working for Primark and those working for other retailers. Sam Maher, spokeswoman for Labour Behind the Label - the UK arm of NGO Clean Clothes Campaign,
said: “We are concerned that any public statement regarding potential payments, or that identifies amounts going to specific groups of workers - particularly when negotiations are not concluded - will cause confusion and misunderstanding among victims and could place workers and families at risk.”

Individuals receiving lump sums could be vulnerable at a time when others were not receiving as much, or had no idea how much they might receive, she explained.

Monika Kemperle, assistant general secretary of union IndustriALL, said the new deal would ensure all workers were paid “under one umbrella”.

“All of us had concerns that there would be two different payments for the victims, and we had a long conversation about how to handle this. Primark sees its responsibility to New Wave Bottom workers, but everyone has the right to get compensation and we have to make sure there is no difference between the two.”

A Primark spokeswoman said: “Our payments will be made under the auspices of The Co-ordination Committee of the Rana Plaza disaster and the payments will meet the requirements of the co-ordinated scheme based on ILO Convention No 121.

“The issue of vulnerability is being addressed with the help of our local NGO partners.”

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