Together, We Remember

RANA PLAZA
NEVER AGAIN

Together, We Remember

YOUR MESSAGES

YOUR MESSAGES COMMEMORATING RANA PLAZA

REMEMBERING RANA PLAZA TOGETHER

MAKING SURE GARMENT WORKERS NEVER AGAIN FACE A DISASTER LIKE RANA PLAZA
Poly Akhter’s mother, Shahana (38), grieves for her. Her other daughter, Dalia, also worked in the factory complex but did not go to work on the day of the collapse. Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 1st June 2013. Credit Taslima Akhter.

On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza building collapsed with thousands of people inside. At least 1,138 people died and thousands more were injured. This is the worst industrial disaster the garment industry has ever seen and it was entirely preventable. 

Workers were forced to enter a building they knew was unsafe under threat of losing their wages. We can never forget this terrible disaster and the people whose lives were ended and upended by it. We want to show to the world that they are not forgotten. We remember Rana Plaza here, by sharing your messages in their memory.

Missing worker Rina’s (18) mother still waits for her missing daughter in front of the barricade. Debris of collapse is on the other side of the barricade. Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 24th July 2013. Credit Taslima Akhter.
We also want to make sure that a tragedy like Rana Plaza can never happen again. After the collapse, the realisation that this could and should have been prevented led to the creation of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Over 200 brands signed a contract to commit to improving workplace safety in Bangladesh. Under this contract brands can be sued in court by unions if they break their promise. This programme has made over 1600 factories safer for two million workers. It took long and hard campaigning from many stakeholders to ensure a new International Accord was signed that preserves the work in Bangladesh and allows for expansion to other countries, to start with Pakistan. Now we need to ensure that all brands sign this agreement and that a new and equally strong agreement comes in its place when this programme runs out in October 2023.

On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza building collapsed with thousands of people inside. At least 1,138 people died and thousands more were injured. This is the worst industrial disaster the garment industry has ever seen and it was entirely preventable. Workers were forced to enter a building they knew was unsafe under threat of losing their wages. We can never forget this terrible disaster and the people whose lives were ended and upended by it. We want to show to the world that they are not forgotten. We remember Rana Plaza here, by sharing your messages in their memory.

Poly Akhter’s mother, Shahana (38), grieves for her. Her other daughter, Dalia, also worked in the factory complex but did not go to work on the day of the collapse. Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 1st June 2013. Credit Taslima Akhter.
Missing worker Rina’s (18) mother still waits for her missing daughter in front of the barricade. Debris of collapse is on the other side of the barricade. Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 24th July 2013. Credit Taslima Akhter.
We also want to make sure that a tragedy like Rana Plaza can never happen again. After the collapse, the realisation that this could and should have been prevented led to the creation of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Over 200 brands signed a contract to commit to improving workplace safety in Bangladesh. Under this contract brands can be sued in court by unions if they break their promise. This programme has made over 1600 factories safer for two million workers. It took long and hard campaigning from many stakeholders to ensure a new International Accord was signed that preserves the work in Bangladesh and allows for expansion to other countries, to start with Pakistan. Now we need to ensure that all brands sign this agreement and that a new and equally strong agreement comes in its place when this programme runs out in October 2023.

Timeline of events

The Rana Plaza collapse was a turning point in the Bangladeshi garment sector and the global world of apparel. Many developments, however, already started many years earlier, and not everything that changed was for the better. 

Check out our timeline to find out more.

Rana Plaza collapse

On 23 April 2013 large structural cracks were discovered in the Rana Plaza building. The shops and the bank on the lower floors immediately closed. But warnings to avoid using the building were ignored by the garment factory owners of 5 factories on the upper floors. Garment workers were ordered to return to work the following day. If there would have been unions in these factories which could have collectively voiced the right to refuse unsafe work, or if workers would not have been earning poverty wages, they might not have entered the factory under threat of losing one month of wages. Poverty wages, lack of freedom of association and in some cases actual violence meant workers felt forced to enter an unsafe building. The building collapsed just an hour later, killing 1,138 people. The incident could have been entirely avoidable.

First brands sign the Bangladesh Accord

Over 30 brands, including the previous signatories PVH and Tchibo and new major sign ons like H&M, Inditex, C&A, Primark, and Benetton, signed what was now called the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. This groundbreaking binding agreement, in which unions have 50% of the say and can hold brands legally accountable if they don’t live up to their promises, went into effect immediately. Eventually, over 220 brands would sign on to this initial 5-year programme which would be renewed in 2018, making more than 1600 factories in Bangladesh safer for over 2.5 million workers. Read more about the history of how the Accord came about.

30 million USD collected to fill Rana Plaza trust fund

After over two years of campaigning in June 2015 finally the 30 million USD needed to compensate the Rana Plaza families had come together. Between March 2014 and October 2015, the Rana Plaza Arrangement distributed these 30 million USD directly to the Rana Plaza families, with a further 1 million USD paid to cover ongoing medical costs.

Timeline of events

The Rana Plaza collapse was a turning point in the Bangladeshi garment sector and the global world of apparel. Many developments, however, already started many years earlier, and not everything that changed was for the better. 

Check out our timeline to find out more.

April 24, 2013

Rana Plaza collapse

On 23 April 2013 large structural cracks were discovered in the Rana Plaza building. The shops and the bank on the lower floors immediately closed. But warnings to avoid using the building were ignored by the garment factory owners of 5 factories on the upper floors. Garment workers were ordered to return to work the following day. If there would have been unions in these factories which could have collectively voiced the right to refuse unsafe work, or if workers would not have been earning poverty wages, they might not have entered the factory under threat of losing one month of wages. Poverty wages, lack of freedom of association and in some cases actual violence meant workers felt forced to enter an unsafe building. The building collapsed just an hour later, killing 1,138 people. The incident could have been entirely avoidable.

Rana Plaza collapse

On 23 April 2013 large structural cracks were discovered in the Rana Plaza building. The shops and the bank on the lower floors immediately closed. But warnings to avoid using the building were ignored by the garment factory owners of 5 factories on the upper floors. Garment workers were ordered to return to work the following day. If there would have been unions in these factories which could have collectively voiced the right to refuse unsafe work, or if workers would not have been earning poverty wages, they might not have entered the factory under threat of losing one month of wages. Poverty wages, lack of freedom of association and in some cases actual violence meant workers felt forced to enter an unsafe building. The building collapsed just an hour later, killing 1,138 people. The incident could have been entirely avoidable.

May 15, 2013

First brands sign the Bangladesh Accord

Over 30 brands, including the previous signatories PVH and Tchibo and new major sign ons like H&M, Inditex, C&A, Primark, and Benetton, signed what was now called the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. This groundbreaking binding agreement, in which unions have 50% of the say and can hold brands legally accountable if they don’t live up to their promises, went into effect immediately. Eventually, over 220 brands would sign on to this initial 5-year programme which would be renewed in 2018, making more than 1600 factories in Bangladesh safer for over 2.5 million workers. Read more about the history of how the Accord came about.

First brands sign the Bangladesh Accord

Over 30 brands, including the previous signatories PVH and Tchibo and new major sign ons like H&M, Inditex, C&A, Primark, and Benetton, signed what was now called the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. This groundbreaking binding agreement, in which unions have 50% of the say and can hold brands legally accountable if they don’t live up to their promises, went into effect immediately. Eventually, over 220 brands would sign on to this initial 5-year programme which would be renewed in 2018, making more than 1600 factories in Bangladesh safer for over 2.5 million workers. Read more about the history of how the Accord came about.

June 1, 2015

30 million USD collected to fill Rana Plaza trust fund

After over two years of campaigning in June 2015 finally the 30 million USD needed to compensate the Rana Plaza families had come together. Between March 2014 and October 2015, the Rana Plaza Arrangement distributed these 30 million USD directly to the Rana Plaza families, with a further 1 million USD paid to cover ongoing medical costs.

30 million USD collected to fill Rana Plaza trust fund

After over two years of campaigning in June 2015 finally the 30 million USD needed to compensate the Rana Plaza families had come together. Between March 2014 and October 2015, the Rana Plaza Arrangement distributed these 30 million USD directly to the Rana Plaza families, with a further 1 million USD paid to cover ongoing medical costs.

WALL OF SHAME

Brands which don’t care about their workers’ safety

TELL BRANDS: KEEP WORKERS SAFE

Make your voice heard. Send a message to tell Brands to KEEP WORKERS SAFE. Put your own message in the form below or copy and paste this: I urge you to sign the new International Accord to ensure the factories you source from in Bangladesh will be made safe, as well as to make the programme’s inspection, remediation, and complaint mechanism available to workers in other countries. Many of your competitors have signed on and it is high time that you also take responsibility for your workers’ lives.

Memorial Slideshow

WHAT IS THE INTERNATIONAL ACCORD?

The legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (“Bangladesh Accord”) between apparel brands and global trade unions has done very important work since the Rana Plaza collapse of 24 April 2013 to make factories safer for workers. Voluntary initiatives have in the past been unable to prevent mass casualties, and that is why the work of the Accord remains so important so many years since the programme started. It started its third mandate on 1 September 2021 as the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry. The International Accord committed to expand to at least one other country before the end of its mandate. A Pakistan Accord programme was announced in December 2022.

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