After Rana Plaza: From Building Safety to Social Dialogue
47 Pages Posted: 3 May 2017
Date Written: May 2, 2017
The 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse was the worst industrial accident in the history of the apparel industry. The tragedy occurred in the context of decades of sometimes violent industrial relations in Bangladesh. The policy response included a change in Bangladeshi labor law, international buyer-coordinated building inspections, tariff penalties, and attempts at improved social dialogue coordinated by international buyers, unions, the Bangladeshi government, and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Analyses based on historiography, statistical analysis of World Bank Enterprise Surveys, and semi-structured interviews indicate that there was a structural break in industrial relations as a consequence of the tragedy at Rana Plaza and subsequent policy reform. The initial response by factory managers reflected the historical tension between labor and management in Bangladesh. The subsequent policies increased receptivity to compliance with safety inspections and technical labor standards. However, resistance remains to the protection of foundational labor rights.
Keywords: Labor Standards, Rana Plaza, Social Dialogue, Occupational Safety and Health
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