Rana Plaza disaster essay

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  • Created on: 12-08-14 11:00
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In a globalised world, who do you consider responsible for the deaths at Rana Plaza and
other factories?
The collapse of Rana Plaza on the 24th of April 2013, was the most deadliest garment factory
incident in history, killing over 1,100 people. The building housed factories working for high
street brands such as Mango, Primark and Matalan and was working intensively to meet the
demands of the Western market. Globalisation has allowed Multinational corporations to
easily open more factories in LEDCs, producing clothes quickly and cheaply. Workers
receive low wages that are under the minimum wage and have to work in poor working
conditions. However, the question is, who was responsible for the Rana Plaza disaster and
other disasters that have resulted from our desire for cheap clothing. Is it us or the intellects
behind the construction of buildings like Rana Plaza?
It was the Rana Plaza incident in 2013 that demonstrated the effects of producing cheap
clothing, showing its costs to the Western world. The eightstorey building had been built in
Savar, a subdistrict of the Greater Dhaka area, on swampland, providing difficult foundations
for a building that was to house over 3,000 factory workers. This construction effort was run
by Sohel Rana, who saw the rise in factory buildings in 2000. He began the build in 2005,
even though he didn't have full ownership of the land and it was a matter of bribes to the
Savar Mayor which eventually got him the permission. This clearly shows the easy
accessibility to building substandard buildings in Savar which could be the underlying reason
for the deaths of many workers. Rana continued to illegally expand his building and it came
evident that Rana Plaza wasn't initially built to withstand factory conditions. It has been said
that the building collapsed as the structure wasn't strong enough to bear the weight and
vibration of the heavy machinery. Rana was clearly trying to conceal the fact that the building
was in a poor state and not fit for its purpose, with cracks appearing the day before the
disaster. He even said to the media who first came aware of the building's failing that `the
cracks were nothing serious'. Rana was not the only one, many other buildings have been
made into factories, extra floors being added without permission and Government authorities
failing to inspect their illegal establishment. Even after these cracks were discovered, there
was `systematic failure of government protection and they failed to act appropriately. I feel
that Rana's poor judgement of how a factory building should be built was one of the main
reasons for the disaster, however, it could be said that he just wanted the building to be up
and running as quickly as possible to meet Western demands.
The President of the National Garment Worker's Federation of Bangladesh has said that
`Western Companies were directly responsible for the death of workers'. People in Western
countries have an ongoing desire for `bargain basement clothing' as they are suffering from
their own poverty due to the recent recession. There has been increasing poverty particularly
in the USA were 80% of adults face near poverty. This means that Multinational corporations
want to produce clothing even more cheaply, moving production to LEDCs, where
globalisation, improved communication is particular, has made this much easier. Western
retailers desire to undercut rivals by putting increased pressure on foreign suppliers to
reduce costs. This leads to building costs and worker's protections being discarded in order
to keep costs down. The fact that garment factories used to be based in retail countries
meant that some consumers had a personal connection with the workers. They were able to
see for themselves what they had to go through, but globalisation has lead to consumer

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When talking
about the Rana Plaza disaster, Executive Director of the British Charity `War on Want' said
that `bargainbasement clothing is automatically leading towards these types of Disasters'. I
think that he is right to some extent, although Western retailers are being given a false view of
what working conditions are like in LEDCs.…read more

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