Factory Collapse in Bangladesh

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The collapse of the Rana Plaza building is, to date, the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry worldwide. 

Some 3,639 workers toiled in five factories housed in the Rana Plaza building producing clothing for some ## U.S., Canadian and European clothing labels and retailers.  Eighty percent of the workers were young women, 18, 19, 20 years of age.  Their standard shift was 13 to 14 ½ hours, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 or 10:30 p.m., toiling 90 to 100 hours a week with just two days off a month.  Young “helpers” earned 12 cents an hour, while “junior operators” took home 22 cents an hour, $10.56 a week, and senior sewers received 24 cents an hour and $12.48 a week.

On Wednesday morning, April 24, 2013 at 8:00 a.m., 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 women and men workers, hitting them with sticks to force them to go into the factory.  Managers of the five factories housed in Rana Plaza also told 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 go in to 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 begin to move, and heard a loud explosion as the building collapsed, pancaking downward.

1,137 confirmed dead at Rana Plaza.  A year later, over 200 remain missing.

 

Rana Plaza: A look back, and forward (April 24, 2014)

It Has Saved Our Lives: Update on the Bangladesh Injured Worker Relief Fund (September 2013)

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