11 Years After Rana Plaza Collapse, Garment Workers Still Struggle for Justice

The Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh exposed the harsh realities of the garment industry, spurring global initiatives for worker safety and accountability. 11 years later, victims continue demanding justice, compensation, and lasting change.

Muhammad Jawad
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11 Years After Rana Plaza Collapse, Garment Workers Still Struggle for Justice

11 Years After Rana Plaza Collapse, Garment Workers Still Struggle for Justice

The Rana Plaza building in Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed, killing over 1,100 garment workers in one of the deadliest industrial accidents in modern history. Eleven years later, victims continue demanding compensation, rehabilitation, and justice.

The tragedy exposed the horrific working conditions and poverty wages faced by millions of garment workers in Bangladesh and other countries. It spurred global initiatives to hold international fashion brands accountable for the conditions in their supply chains and to demand that governments ensure the application of labor and safety standards, as well as protect workers' rights to organize and collectively bargain.

The collapse led to the establishment of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and its successor, the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry. While these agreements have resulted in significant improvements in factory safety, with over 56,000 independent inspections and 140,000 safety issues fixed, the root causes of the Rana Plaza tragedy persist.

Garment workers in Bangladesh continue to face issues such as poverty wages, lack of freedom of association, and baseless criminal charges against union leaders. Brands like H&M, Inditex (Zara), and Next have been linked to these ongoing problems. "Despite lessons learned from Rana Plaza, workers in the garment industry are still not better off in many respects," labor advocates state.

Why this matters: The Rana Plaza collapse remains a somber reminder of the human cost of fast fashion and the urgent need for greater corporate accountability and worker protections in global supply chains. As consumers continue to demand more ethical and sustainable clothing, the fight for safe factories, living wages, and the right to organize is more critical than ever.

On the 11th anniversary of the disaster, survivors and relatives of the victims gathered at the site to demand adequate compensation, maximum punishment for the perpetrators, and the introduction of a new wage board with a minimum wage of Tk 25,000. They also called for long-term medical benefits and rehabilitation for injured workers, the construction of a permanent monument on the Rana Plaza site, and the declaration of April 24 as a national day of mourning and safety day.

Key Takeaways

  • Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 killed over 1,100 garment workers in Bangladesh.
  • Tragedy exposed poor working conditions and low wages in garment industry.
  • Accord on Fire and Safety led to factory improvements, but issues persist.
  • Garment workers still face poverty wages, lack of union rights, and legal issues.
  • Survivors demand compensation, punishment, and new wage board for workers.