World day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day

One year after Rana Plaza, where are we and where do we want to go? Discussion on the ILO's role

On year after the Rana Plaza Building Collapse, the ILO Bureau for Workers' Activities will organise a panel discussion on 28th April, to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of this tragedy, which killed 1138 workers and injured over 2000 others.

28th of April has been established by the International Labour Movement as "Workers' Memorial Day". The ILO has supported the move and in 2003 declared it the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

By organising an event on this day and ILO-ACTRAV want to pay tribute to the memory of the Rana Plaza victims and to reflect on the roots and aftermath of the Rana Plaza factory collapse.

Undoubtedly the first issue to be discussed is Rana Plaza its roots and its aftermath - what caused the tragedy, what was done, what are the results of the efforts, what were the problems faced? Have the Bangladeshi unions played their role? Were they relevantly involved? What was the impact of industrial relations and on industrial relations? To what extent the projects acting now in the country will lead to sustainable inspections? Do we see positive changes in the national legislation?

Secondly, the Rana Plaza building collapse on 24 April 2013 killing 1138 workers and injuring over 2500 others was neither the first nor unfortunately the last, but the worst of a series of disasters in the global garment industry. Occupational safety and health is often neglected in chase of profit. We see overcrowded workplaces with no fire exits.

Catastrophes in different industries will continue to happen. What could be proper reaction roles for different actors – unions, ILO, etc. Is there any opportunity to develop a “global response tool” to be used to reduce the effects of the disaster?

The third and the most important issue - what can be global action taken by the ILO and its constituents in prevention of such tragedies? What is the role of the ILS, Tripartism and social dialogue and the good will of the national governments, including through legislation and compliance?

These are the major topics to be discussed by the panelists representing ILO Departments, Global Union Federations and Bangladeshi Trade Union movement.