Thursday, 6 March 2014

Accident - Corporate Murder??

    Every day across the planet people die trying to earn their keep, mining disasters, fishing at sea disasters, factory disasters, etc.. A lot of these tragic events cannot be termed "accidents", proper adherence by employers to health and safety affairs, would eliminate the vast majority, the lack of such adherence places the blame for those deaths and injuries, squarely in the hands of those employers. 
     Almost a year ago, one of the worst industrial "accidents" in history happened, when a building collapsed in Bangladesh, killing more than 1,100 people. The reason I say "accidents" is because it can't really be claimed to have been an "accident". Surely in 20/21 centuries we have mastered the ability to build factories that don't fall down? Somewhere along the line somebody was pushing aside proper health and safety practice in favour of making money. Was it a shoddy building not fit for the purpose it was being used for? Was it overloaded with machinery and people? Somebody some where put money before people, which is the norm in this world of corporate greed.
      Across the globe the vast majority of us who work, do so in crap jobs, with crap wages, the possibility of death should not be added to that humiliation and exploitation. Murder by the corporate world is rife, but seldom is the crime punished, the word "accident" is used to try to wash the blood from their hands.
      In another seven weeks, we mark the first anniversary of the building collapse at Rana Plaza, in Bangladesh.  Over 1,100 people were killed in one of the worst industrial accidents in history.
    As you may know, this was followed up by a ground-breaking agreement signed by global unions, local unions in Bangladesh, employers, major clothing brands, the International Labor Organization, the Bangladeshi government and others.
     In addition to trying to ensure that the tragedy doesn't repeat itself, the employers also agreed to help compensate the injured and the families of those killed.
     As the Clean Clothes Campaign put it, "The survivors and victims families have suffered enough and should not have to relive that horrible day without being secure that their financial losses at least are covered. They suffered terrible injuries, lost husbands and wives, children and parents, brothers and sisters; and will bear the physical and emotional scars for life. This can never be compensated for, but they can and should be compensated for loss of income and medical costs before the anniversary."
     But among those companies which have not made public donations to the fund are these:

Adler Modemrkte, Auchan, Ascena Retail, Benetton, C&A, Carrefour, Cato Fashions, Children's Place, Grabalok, Gueldenpfennig, Kids for Fashion, KiK, LPP, Manifattura Corona, Matalan, NKD, Premier Clothing, Primark, PWT, Walmart and Yes Zee.

    IndustriALL, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign have launched an online campaign hosted by LabourStart to pressure those companies to pay compensation now.
Please sign up and send your message.  And please spread the word about this very important campaign.
      Meanwhile, halfway around the world in Peru, the government is attempting to privatize the country's water supply -- over the objections of citizens and the country's trade union movement.  Those unions and their global union federation PSI have launched an online campaign demanding that Peru stop this privatization now.  Please support the campaign and spread the word.

Thank you very much!

Eric Lee

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