Rana Plaza tragedy: Who is to blame?

Authors Asif Salahuddin

ISSN: 2413-9874
Affiliations: Lecturer in Law, Metropolitan University, Sylhet, Bangladesh
Source: Industrial Law Journal, Volume 39 Issue 1, 2018, p. 51 – 75


In 2013 Bangladesh experienced a tragic accident in the garment industry with the Rana Plaza building collapse, which led to large-scale human casualties. The incident highlighted the deplorable labour conditions in the country. As Bangladesh’s garment industry is export oriented, the disaster raises questions about the corporate social responsibility of foreign corporations. This article assesses the responsibility of such companies as well as that of the government of Bangladesh for the incident and other similar industrial accidents. Although Bangladesh has been a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) since 1972 and has ratified most of its core conventions, their implementation appears to be far from effective in practice. The ILO’s inability to sanction or to penalise countries that fail to implement the ratified conventions is a drawback and prevents it from being an effective organisation although it is the sole labour organisation to oversee labour standards and working conditions globally. The article ends with a number of recommendations aimed at facilitating the effective implementation of controls designed to improve labour standards and conditions in Bangladesh and other developing countries.