Primark will make further payments to victims of the Rana Plaza disaster after campaigners said retailers must do more to protect workers rights.
Associated British Foods, who owns Primark, reported strong half year profits of $632m and pledged to spend $1m on emergency aid for three months in June, but will now supply a second tranch of aid for all workers or their families.
“There is obviously real hardship, short-term hardship, which we initially dealt with food aid. It is the right thing to do,” said Paul Lister, head of governance at AB Foods.
The Rana Plaza factory collapse in April was the worst garment disaster in history and left 1,129 dead including many hundreds with serious injuries.
Primark’s supplier Simple Approach occupied the second floor of the eight story Rana Plaza building and supplied less than 10 per cent of the building’s work force.
A Primark spokesperson said: “Following today’s meeting in Geneva to discuss long-term compensation arrangements for the victims of Rana Plaza, Primark Stores has committed to paying further short-term financial aid to all workers (or their families.)”
The payments follow the company’s earlier commitment to provide short-term financial aid and food aid, both delivered after the disaster. The company has registered the details of 3,333 workers as part of this aid programme, creating the first comprehensive database of most workers in the building at the time.
Primark said it remained concerned about the length of time it is taking to agree a framework for long-term compensation.
Mick Duncan, National Secretary of the No Sweat campaign said that it was “a sad fact there were still companies that are still not making any payments” and urged that retailers “should insist to allow workers to organise their own trade unions.”
The fast fashion retailer said that only nine brands attended the Geneva meeting and brands such as Gap and Walmart did not show. There were some 28 brands being supplied by factories in the Rana Plaza building.