Friday, April 25, 2014

First anniversary of the Bangladesh garment factory disaster

Dear James,
Just one year ago today, the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry took place. More than 1,130 people died and more than 2,500 were injured.
The email below is from Aklima Khanam, a young woman from Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh, who survived the horrific Rana Plaza garment factory collapse on April 24, 2013. Will you help Aklima pressure Walmart and Children's Place to pay full and fair compensation to the 2,500 workers injured in the Rana Plaza building collapse and to the families of the 1,138 deceased by signing her petition and sharing it with your friends and family?

CREDO Mobilize
Sign the petition: Demand justice for Rana Plaza survivors.

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Dear Friend,
My name is Aklima Khanam and I am a 20-year-old garment worker from Bangladesh who survived the worst garment factory disaster in world history.
I started working at New Wave Style factory at Rana Plaza January 2013, making clothes for Walmart and Children’s Place. One year ago, on the morning of April 24, even though the building's walls were cracking, the management forced us into the factory using physical violence and said that there was a shipment of 24,000 pieces that needed to go out.
Soon after we started working the power went out. Moments later, the building collapsed. A machine fell on top of me and I was trapped under it for 12 hours until a rescuer found me. 1,138 other garment workers died that day, and 2,500 of us were injured. But Walmart and Children's Place still haven't adequately compensated us, and they haven't taken meaningful action to make sure another tragedy like this won't happen again.
That's why I started my own campaign on, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to Walmart and Children's Place, says the following:
Pay full and fair compensation to the 2,500 workers injured in the Rana Plaza building collapse and to the families of the 1,138 deceased. In order to prevent future deaths in your Bangladesh supply chain, join 150+ companies in the legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety.
When working at Rana Plaza, the managers would frequently say things like, “This is for Walmart, you need to make it beautiful." If I spent too long in the bathroom, they would pull my hair, kick me off the stool, and insult me with abusive language. My normal workday was from 8 a.m. until midnight, and in the four months I worked there I was never given a single day off.
Since the building collapse, I've been unable to work. I’m ill a lot of the time so I can’t do much. There are points when I have had to stay in bed for 15 days at a time. Walmart and Children's Place have been asked to pay full and fair compensation for loss of income and medical expenses, but all I’ve received since the collapse was 45,000 taka ($580) from Primark, an Irish clothing retailer, and 7,000 taka ($90) from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association to cover my last month’s wages.
In response to the April 24, 2013, building collapse disaster, over 150 clothing companies, including Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle and H&M, signed onto the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a legally binding agreement with Bangladeshi unions and global unions to ensure minimum safety standards at garment factories in Bangladesh.
Walmart and Children's Place have failed to pay adequate compensation, and they have not yet signed onto the Accord on Fire and Building Safety. I urge Walmart, Children’s Place and all the other brands and retailers whose clothes were made at Rana Plaza to pay full and fair compensation, and to immediately sign the accord.
Thank you for your support.
Aklima Khanam
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