The building housed 5 garment factories where poorly paid Bangladeshi workers made clothing for wealthy and high profile Western clothing labels.
Rebecca Prentice explores the causes of the disaster in this article, pointing the finger directly at the inner workings of the global capitalist economy:
We might ask ourselves whether the disaster at Rana Plaza is the natural outcropping of a system we have created: a complex array of arms-length relationships between retailers and suppliers; working conditions hidden by both the intricacies of the global supply chain and its geographic dispersal; a regulatory regime comprised largely of voluntary compliance with ethical codes set by multinational corporations; and a lack of protections for labour organisers in low-income countries.The collapse sparked record worker protests and exposed the rampant abuse, dangerous conditions, and retaliation for organizing faced by Bangladesh's estimated 4 million garment workers, 80 percent of whom are women from rural areas.
His images pay tribute to those who died, as well as those who worked to free people from the rubble. Ferdous also photographed clothing labels in the rubble that show the direct connection between high profile fashion labels and the deaths in the collapse.
The fund contains only $15m compared to the proposed $40m, as only half of the western retailers have deposited funds. The first payments of $640 for each of the survivors and families of the deceased were only made this week.
A list of the corporations who have made no contribution to the fund is here.
Attempts to sign the Bangladesh Safety Accord – a legally binding contract between brands, retailers and trade unions in Bangladesh that makes independent safety inspections of 1,000 factories and public reporting mandatory, has been hindered by ideological differences and the decision by some large brands to sign separate, less stringent agreements.
Alexandra Hartman writes:
International corporations have barely been impacted by the fallout. In fact, some of shareholders' prices for certain implicated companies rose just months after the collapse. So far, corporations' responses have been a patchwork of safety reviews and public statements with little bold effort done to right any wrongs and compensate losses. And consumers, in large part, have forgotten.Here is Humayun Kabir of the South Asia Solidarity Initiative:
"Very little has actually been done to change the situation that led to the disaster a year ago. There have been a lot of people struggling to get compensation for victims and trying to change business practices of international buyers and practices of factory owners. One of the ways we can keep these issues on the agenda is by saying that this disaster that happened is not a distant memory. We shouldn't forget about it."