Victims of Bangladesh plant collapse offered financial aid
Supermarket chain says it will provide 'longterm' compensation to survivors and families
Associated Press in Toronto
A Canadian supermarket chain has pledged long-term financial assistance to the surviving victims and families of a deadly factory collapse in Bangladesh.
Loblaws stepped in to help survivors who produced garments for its Joe Fresh brand.
The company said it "will begin providing long-term, direct financial compensation for the victims and their families that were producing our apparel at the New Wave Style factory in Rana Plaza."
Loblaws did not disclose the amount of compensation.
The factory was one of five plants in the Dhaka plaza that collapsed, killing more than 1,100 workers on April 24.
The firm has also joined British clothing retailer Primark to provide financial assistance to workers of all retailers in the factory plaza.
"Should the other brands not step forward and join in this funding, we will join Primark and immediately contribute to the payment of three month's wages for the approximately 3,600 individuals involved, regardless of the brand apparel that was being produced in their workplace," said Bob Chant, Loblaws senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications.
The company says it has previously donated US$1 million to non-governmental organisations Save the Children Bangladesh and the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed.
This latest announcement marks the six-month anniversary of the deadly factory collapse, the industry's worst disaster.
Following the accident, Loblaws signed a five-year pact to improve fire and building safety in Bangladesh.
Several other big retailers have also signed the pact including Benetton, Swedish fashion chain H&M, C&A of the Netherlands, British retailers Tesco and Primark, and Spain's Inditex, owner of Zara.
The agreement requires that the companies must conduct independent safety inspections, make their reports on factory conditions public and cover the costs for needed repairs.
The companies that agreed to the pact join two other retailers that signed the contract last year, PVH, which makes clothes under the Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Izod labels, and German retailer Tchibo.
Working conditions in Bangladesh's garment industry have come under increased scrutiny in recent years. The April collapse came months after a fire in another garment factory in November 2012, killed 112 workers.