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Action Aid: 51% of Rana Plaza survivors now unemployed

  • Published at 06:12 pm April 16th, 2019
Action Aid Rana Plaza
Action Aid launches its survey report on Rana Plaza survivors in Dhaka on Tuesday Courtesy

This comes up in a recent survey by Action Aid Bangladesh, which says the number was 42% two years ago

Six years after the Rana Plaza collapse, 51% survivors claim they are not working due to a combination of both physical and mental trauma.

This comes up in a recent survey by Action Aid Bangladesh, which says the number was 42% two years ago.

Action Aid revealed the survey results at a research sharing event titled "Commemorating the 6th Anniversary of Rana Plaza Building Collapse" at the Brac Centre Inn, Dhaka on Tuesday.

The non-government organization conducted the follow-up survey on 200 survivors of the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed over 1,135 RMG workers in 2013.

Shamsunnahar Bhuiyan, member of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Labour and Employment, attended as the chief guest, while Action Aid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir moderated the conference. 

In the survey, Action Aid has found that 10.5% of the survivors are still traumatized, down from 22.5% survivors last year. Currently 68.5% have reported that they are stable and 21% reported to have recovered fully.

Muzhat Jabin, manager of Action Aid Bangladesh, said in her keynote presentation: "This year, we found that 20% said their condition is getting worse, 51% are more or less stable, and 28.5% are completely stable.”

She also said they tended to change work frequently as their physical condition did not allow them to work for long periods at a time.

According to the survey, the 20.5% who reported that their condition is deteriorating, listed headaches, limb pain, and back pain as some of the major problems they were suffering from. 

However, the trend from previous surveys showed that physical health status of the survivors was slowly improving, and in some cases, they had completely recovered.

Speaking at the conference, Action Aid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir, said: “Compensation is a human right. If the compensation had been fully paid on time, then the present number of incapacitated workers would have been lower.

“The compensation did not help in any way as a result of partial payments," she added. 

Action Aid Bangladesh recommended institutionalizing a comprehensive compensation mechanism; improving purchasing practice and role of buyers beyond workplace safety; and addressing the Gender Position Gap—access to skills development, collective bargaining, and necessary policy arrangements. 

Member of Parliament Shamsunnahar Bhuiyan said the Rana Plaza disaster had "opened" the government's eyes. 

"It is important to ensure workplace safety. We will take initiatives for increasing workers' wages,” she promised.

Dr Khondokar Golam Moazzem, research director at the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) said that he had hoped that after six years, the situation would have improved. 

He said: "But sadly, the situation seems to have deteriorated. The promise of helping the victims of the accident has not been met, especially in the matter of compensation. Despite a directive from the High Court, but it was not implemented."

Workers' wages did not increase due to inflation, he added. 

Country Director of ILO Bangladesh Tuomo Poutiainen said there "is still a lot to do" for the survivors. 

Among others, Ambassador Denmark to Bangladesh Winnie Estrup Petersen and General Secretary of Socialist Labour Front Rajekuzzaman Ratan, were also present at the event.

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