The Rana Plaza Tragedy
On Wednesday morning, April 24, 2013 at 8:00 a.m., all 3,639 workers refused to enter the eight-story Rana Plaza factory building because there were large and dangerous cracks in the factory walls. The owner, Sohel Rana, brought paid gang members to beat the workers, hitting them with sticks to force them to go into the building. Managers of the five factories housed in Rana Plaza also threatened the frightened workers, telling them that if they did not return to work, there would be no money to pay them for the month of April, which meant that there would be no food for them and their children. They were forced to head into work at 8:00 a.m.
At 8:45 a.m. the electricity went out and the factories’ five generators kicked on. Almost immediately, the workers felt the eight-story building shake and heard a loud explosion as the building collapsed, pancaking downward.
The 3,639 workers toiled in five factories housed in the Rana Plaza building, producing clothing for U.S., Canadian and European clothing labels and retailers. Eighty percent of the workers were young women, whose ages ranged from 18-20 years. Their standard shift lasted 13 to 14½ hours, from 8:00 am to 9-10:30 pm, toiling 90 to 100 hours a week with just two days off a month. Young “helpers” earned 12 cents/hr, while “junior operators” took home 22 cents/hr ($10.56/wk), and senior sewers received 24 cents/hr ($12.48/wk).
The owner of Rana Plaza seems to have widespread political connections and so the trial for this disaster is being delayed, as alleged by several authentic sources. Even the persecutor could not indict the higher government official responsible for this disaster in the trial. In addition, the workers (mostly women) killed or injured by this disaster have not yet been compensated properly by government or garments’ owners’ association as well as buyers.
We demand justice for the workers injured and killed by this Rana Plaza manmade disaster.
About the Author
Paul P. Saha is a professional consultant who actively serves 300 government registered NGOs in Bangladesh. The last 30 years, he has been effectively and successfully showing his extraordinary contribution in preservation of human rights to the disadvantaged and vulnerable girls and women.