A timeline of support provided by Primark since the 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh

24th April

The Rana Plaza building collapses

On 24th April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Savar, near Dhaka in Bangladesh, collapsed. Rana Plaza housed five garment factories that made clothing for some 28 brands. One of Primark’s supplier’s factories, New Wave Bottoms, occupied a factory on the second floor of the eight-storey building.


April – May

Primark provides support for victims in immediate aftermath

Primark was one of the first brands to confirm that one of its suppliers was located in the Rana Plaza building. Primark’s Ethical Trade team based in Bangladesh worked with local partners to provide emergency food aid to over 1,265 households, whether or not they had worked for Primark’s supplier New Wave Bottoms, and established a 24-hour helpline. Primark’s Director of Ethical Trade was also present on the ground to oversee the aid process and provide support.



Primark signs Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

Primark was one of the first international retailers to sign up to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh on 13th May 2013. The Accord brought together more than 220 apparel brands, retailers, international and local trade unions, and NGOs. The independent, legally binding agreement between brands and trade unions was designed to work towards a safe Bangladeshi garment industry. The Accord was established with a specific focus on improving the structural and electrical safety of factories through inspections, remediation and training.



Primark establishes structural integrity programme in Bangladesh

Primark began its own rigorous programme of factory structural integrity inspections to assess its suppliers’ factories, continuing to work closely with the Accord. Each factory manufacturing goods for Primark in Bangladesh was assessed by experts against international standards. Where areas were found for improvement, Primark and a team of structural and civil engineers from international engineering firms MCS and also Mott MacDonald worked directly with factories to provide technical support and guidance. Today, the Primark Structural Integrity Programme is headed up by Primark’s own dedicated Chartered Structural Engineer who continues to be supported by a team at Mott MacDonald.



Primark starts work with partners to begin financial aid and long-term compensation programme

Primark and Dhaka University began a formal partnership in the summer of 2013 to enable financial aid payments to all the victims and their families and long-term compensation for workers at Primark’s supplier’s factory, New Wave Bottoms. The partnership capitalised on the University’s expertise and local knowledge to collect information about the workers and carry out assessments, including medical assessments, of their needs.

Throughout this time Primark continued to monitor the welfare of victims with long-term injuries, in conjunction with local partners. This included establishing a dedicated helpline for the victims and their families, so that they could easily communicate with Primark. The line was open 24/7, including weekends, and is still in existence for beneficiaries to this day.

In September 2013, Primark also attended the first of a series of meetings in Geneva with other brands that sourced from Rana Plaza factories and the International Labour Organisation to discuss long-term compensation arrangements for factory workers.



Primark begins short-term financial aid payments

Primark made short-term financial aid payments to workers and their families via the Bangladeshi bKash ‘mobile’ banking system, irrespective of whether they worked for New Wave Bottoms. To enable this, Primark created a comprehensive database of workers who were in the Rana Plaza building at the time of the collapse, which it subsequently shared with the International Labour Organisation. Two payments were made in June and July, followed by further instalments in September and October. In total, payments equivalent to nine months’ salary were made to 3,621 workers and their families.



Primark begins long-term compensation payments

Following the assessments of workers and their dependents Primark began long-term compensation payments to those working for Primark’s suppliers’ factory, New Wave Bottoms. Compensation payments were based on the compensation scheme developed which included medical assessments for the injured, carried out in partnership with Dhaka University, and as agreed with the International Labour Organisation (ILO). In total over $11 million was paid in long-term compensation to 672 individuals or their dependents who were working for Primark’s supplier’s factory, New Wave Bottoms.

Primark also contributed $1m to the ILO’s compensation scheme, the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, for workers who made clothing for the company’s competitors.



Primark hosts programme of financial education events to support beneficiaries

As part of Primark’s on-going support for those receiving long-term compensation, Primark hosted a dedicated programme of events with BRAC Bank and other organisations including the Bangladesh-based NGO SHEVA and Dhaka University to give all beneficiaries advice on how to control, manage and invest their money. 751 people attended the events over 23 days. Attendees were given help to open bank accounts, given advice and information about savings accounts and supported through the process of purchasing land, where appropriate.



Primark establishes ongoing ‘Pashe Achi’ support programme

The Pashe Achi programme was set up to support all those individuals receiving long-term compensation, particularly the most vulnerable, including minors, the elderly and widows. Pashe Achi, meaning ‘by your side’ in Bengali, provides support and advice on an ongoing basis to the most vulnerable recipients of long-term compensation. The project aims to build the confidence and knowledge of those affected so that they can successfully manage their financial compensation for the long-term. It includes a specific focus on children of the victims, including regular contact to monitor their development until they reach at least 18 years old. Participants in the project are also given advice on how to access health services and legal support through regular contact and a 24-hour helpline.



Primark signs 2018 Transition Accord

In June 2017, Primark became one of the first signatory brands of the 2018 Transition Accord, reaffirming Primark’s commitment to collaborating with other brands, factory owners, NGOs, trade unions and the Government of Bangladesh to bring about sustainable positive change in the Bangladeshi garment industry. The Accord will be renewed for a second term on expiry of the existing agreement in May 2018.