To: Walmart and Children's Place
Justice for Rana Plaza survivors
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 175+ companies in the legally-binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety.
Why is this important?
My name is Aklima Khanam. I’m 20 years old. I started working in a garment factory when I was 14 years old. My dad was ill and couldn’t work and my mom had to take care of my four siblings.
I started working at New Wave Style at Rana Plaza on January 3, 2013. We made clothes for Walmart and Children’s Place. Managers would say “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, call me “whore” or say “your parents are children of pigs” or many other kinds of abusive language. They would give me a ton of work and if there was one or two mistakes, they would do this. All I made was about $125 a month. My normal workday was from 8am to midnight. Sometimes they kept us there til 2am or 3am. I worked 7 days a week. The whole time January 3rd to April 24th, I was never given a single day off.
On the morning of April 24th, 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. They said we would be fired and not paid if we couldn't meet the target. Soon after we started working the power went out. Then the generator went on. Moments later the building collapsed. A machine fell on top of me. I was trapped under it. A man next to me died immediately. I was trapped for 12 hours until a rescuer found me. I had a head injury, my chest hurt, my hip hurt, my ankle hurt.
Now I stay at home. I do housework. I’m ill a lot of the time so I can’t do much. There are points when I had to stay in bed for 15 days at a stretch. All I’ve received since the collapse was 45,000 taka ($580) from Primark and 7,000 taka ($90) from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association. Because the factory owner fled, BGMEA stepped in and gave us the wages we were owed for April – that’s what the 7,000 taka ($90) was for.
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. If the brands don't pay compensation, it will be really difficult to get by. If they pay compensation we'll somehow get by. If everyone puts pressure on the brands then Walmart, Children's Place and all others might pay fair compensation.
Translated by International Labor Rights Forum.