Justice and Safety for Workers after Rana Plaza (JSW)


Project Period: 1st February 2014- 31st October 2014

Working Area: Dhaka (Savar Area)

Donors: Australian AID


Context:

The collapse of the Rana Plaza building resulted in the deaths of 1,133 people and more than 2500 people were injured. Women made up 80% of the dead and injured Most of the survivors received trivial sums as compensation however, it was not even sufficient to cover their basic living expenses let alone the mounting medical costs. Some survivors have received no compensation at all. Most of the survivors are illiterate and have little or no knowledge on the compensation process. Women are the most vulnerable with several being abandoned by their husband either because they are no longer able to earn money or because the cost of their medical treatment is too high.

Some survivors are still in hospital or mentally traumatized and without and financial support they are on the verge of destitution. Rescuers have developed post traumatic disorder and a lot of them facing it to an extent that it would hamper their professional and personal lives. Dependent of the dead or injured are another vulnerable group. The deaths or the disablements of women workers have left many families without a source of income. Their elderly or ill family members will now be unable to access medical support while some girls may be forced into early marriages by families who are unable to support them.


Goal/Objectives:

The project seek to address violations of labours and workers’ safety laws, develop a workable national framework for provision of compensation in future workplace accidents, and provide rehabilitation to the survivors of the Rana Plaza disaster as well as dependents and rescuers. Keeping in mind that 85% of the beneficiaries will be women, women will have a key role decision making in the project


Beneficiaries:

Primary beneficiaries include Rana plaza survivors, rescuers, dependent and                                         garment factory workers in the Savar area of Dhaka. It is expected that garment factory workers across Bangladesh will also benefit from national level advocacy around increased enforcement of labour and workers’ safety laws in garment factories and provision of a compensation framework for factory accident and implementation of such a framework. An estimated 85% of the beneficiaries will be women based on BGMEA’s estimate of the percentage of women works in garment industry (including the Rana Plaza factory)


Activities:

  • Provision of Labour and family law related legal advice to clients over telephone, email and in-person, on available legal remedies, next steps, feasibility of bringing cases, selection of appropriate lawyers. Provision of Urgent advice on immediate and practical legal steps in cases of industrial accidents, labour rights violations and related family law issues. Mediation and Litigation services in relation to industrial accidents, labour rights violation and related family law issues will be provided.
  • Organize issue raising meeting with trade unions, workers, employers and other stakeholder to determine the exact working area for advocacy activities. Awareness raising meetings will be conducted with workers, trade unions and women about their rights and legal remedies available for industrial accidents. Advocacy meetings will be organized with BGMEA, trade unions parliamentarians, relevant ministries and other important stakeholders for better enforcement of workers’ safety laws.
  • Develop a workable national framework for provision of workplace accidents through consultation with BGMEA, workers, trade unions. Advocacy meetings will be held with the relevant stakeholders through public interest litigation (PIL) for the establishment of this framework.
  • Paralegals will be employed to distribute information about compensation, medical assistance, job opportunities etc. Provision of rehabilitation of Rana Plaza survivors, rescuers, dependent through a referral process tailored to each individual client and carried out by a paralegal based at Savar office and conducted in partnership with variety of employers, NGOs, hospitals.
  • Creating awareness of the project among workers, survivors, rescuers through coordination meetings with trade unions, community leaders, workers’ rights activists and NGOs. Leaflets containing information about the project and contact details will be printed and distributed.


Expected Results:

  1. Garment workers including Rana Plaza survivors will receive legal remedies for industrial accidents and labour rights violations as well as for family related issues arising as consequences of these.
  2. Increased enforcement of labour and worker safety laws in garment factories.
  3. Development of an efficient and workable national framework for provision of compensation for the future factory accidents
  4. Survivors of the Rana Plaza disaster, 80% of whom are women will receive access to job and training opportunities, medical assistance, financial support and compensation. Former dependents of deceased Rana Plaza workers and rescuers will also receive support.

WORK UNDERTAKEN

Outcomes:

  1. 618 workers received individual legal remedies for enforcement of their rights in the form of legal advice (206), litigation services (195), mediation services (79), referrals (135) and litigation services in appeal (3)
  2. Steps were taken towards increased enforcement of labour laws and worker safety laws through:
    1. organizing rights awareness trainings (six) for workers
    2. developing IEC materials including a flier containing information on referral services for seeking support in cases of workplace deaths and injuries and a booklet on the Labour Act 2006 aimed at workers seeking information on their legal rights and entitlements in a simple and engaging way
    3. organizing issues raising (one) and advocacy (two) meetings and through participating in a coalition advocating for law enforcement
  3. Steps were taken towards development of national, workable framework on compensation for workplace deaths and injuries through:
    1. organizing a national level advocacy meeting, including with Mr. Israfil Alam, Member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour & Employment
    2. participating in meetings with the Sromik Nirapotta Forum (Worker Safety Forum) and with international labour rights activists to strategise on this issue
  4. Development of referral services for rehabilitation of injured workers through which BLAST‟s partner, the Safety and Rights Society successfully collected data from 137 injured workers and referred them to appropriate sources for financial, legal or re-employment services.


See Photos of Project Activities.

 

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