On 24 April 2013, over 1,100 people were killed and thousands more were injured in the collapse of a building in Bangladesh which housed factories making clothes for Benetto, Primark, Matalan, Mango , Costa and other major brands The fate of the Rana Plaza building turned into a tragedy because workers were forced by their bosses to come to work in a place inspectors had previously ordered closed for safety reasons.It would be the worst factory tragedy in the history of the Garment industry. The majority of the victims were female garment workers. The disaster was entirely preventable. No longer could consumers, workers or governments turn a blind eye to the dangers facing workers every day.
To this day Gap refuses to sign a trade agreement that would improve conditions for the workers that produce their clothes. Survivors spoke about the intense costcutting pressures from Austalian retailers Like Costa. Many of these brands are still stocking clothes made in Bangladesh sweatshops and many workers have no choice than to return to an industry despite ill-health and fear of another collapse.
We should continue to demand from the rubbles and ashes of this disaster that workers particularly women workers the capacity to fight for a better life, and as we remember the victims of Rana Plaza we should carry on expressing our anger at companies mentioned earlier, their disregard for the workers in their supply chains in their thirst for profit.These companies must take responsibilty for their part in this disaster.
It is more than time that the fashion industry make human rights and basic safety non-negotiable. I remember today all those who lost their lives, remember their families, husbands, wives, children, mothers and brothers, all left mourning a loved one and still waiting for justice. A year on, the families of victims and the survivors are still waiting for full compensation, so they don't have to live with the additional burden of financial hardship.
As we remember all those affected, here is a link that names and calls on all brands that source from Rana Plaza to pay up.
The real cost of fast fashion