• Thursday, Jan 27, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

ActionAid survey: 57% of Rana Plaza survivors still jobless for the last 7 years

  • Published at 09:25 pm April 25th, 2020
WEB_Rana Plaza_Mahmud Hossain Opu
This April 24, 2013 file photo shows a Fire Service personnel is seen carrying a victim of the Rana Plaza accident out of the debris Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The findings also said 43% of the respondents were engaged in various types of jobs and self-employment

At least 57% of respondents to a survey done by ActionAid Bangladesh said they did not find any jobs in the last seven years after the Rana Plaza tragedy due to their physical and mental weaknesses.

The survey report was released at an online media briefing titled "7 Years of Rana Plaza Tragedy and Covid-19" in the capital, yesterday.

The findings also said 43% of the respondents were engaged in various types of jobs and self-employment.

The survey of 200 Rana Plaza survivors was conducted over the phone between February 23 and March 2 earlier this year.

The respondents were given a questionnaire based on their physical and mental health conditions, and aspects related to their livelihoods.

The survey also found that the physical and mental wellbeing of 14% of respondents was deteriorating, 58.5% were somewhat stable, and 27.5% had fully recovered from the trauma.

Out of the 14%, the respondents complained of headaches, pain in parts of their bodies, and other issues.

In terms of mental health, 12.5% of the respondents reported still binge in trauma, compared to 10.5% respondents of a similar survey conducted in 2019.

Currently, 62% reported that they were more or less stable and 25.5% had recovered fully, compared to 21% last year.

Few opted to return to RMG

Out of the 43% respondents currently employed, only 12% returned to the readymade garment (RMG) sector, while another 12% got involved in tailoring.

Asked about total household income, like last year, 37.5% said their monthly household income was between Tk 5,001 to Tk10,300, while 29.5% earned between Tk10,300 to Tk15,300.

Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, recommended that the government and factory owners provide alternative livelihoods for all the survivors. 

Those who got injured at work or lost their jobs should be eligible for social insurance in the future, she added.

Farah also said a policy was needed on how to use the funds from the stimulus package for the workers.

"A planning team should be formed with employers, workers, economists and conscious citizens to ensure all kinds of safety for workers," said the ActionAid country director.

“To those who want to keep factories open during the countrywide shutdown: we have to ask them how they will ensure the safety of the workers when factories reopen,” she queried. 

Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said coronavirus could not be dealt with by any country alone, especially developing countries.

"Brands and buyers purchase our products. So they also need to understand the safety of workers during and after the Covid-19 pandemic," he said. 

Tuomo Poutiainen, country director of the ILO Country Office for Bangladesh, said factories should be kept open to keep the economy afloat, but only after ensuring the safety of workers.

Nazma Akter, president of Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation, urged buyers and brands to be responsible and to work with workers and employers in the apparel sector to overcome the crisis.

Dr Hameeda Hossain, chairperson of Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), said despite pledges made by industrial owners to increase worker safety,  implementation remains absent even now.

“In this situation, the safety of the workers has to be ensured,” said Salahuddin Bablu, Business Editor of SATV. 

The nine-storied building—which housed several factories—came crashing down on the morning of April 24, 2013, leaving 1,138 people dead and over 1,169 injured in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka.

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