(Corrects paragraph 9 to add sourcing and say that Inditex not
attending, also deletes Inditex mention in bullet point)
* IndustriALL targets 54 mln-euro ($72 mln) fund for Rana
* Victims of Tazreen fire in November also under discussion
* Attendees include Britain's Primark
* Wal-Mart, Benetton, Mango not attending
Sept 12 A dozen retailers and clothing brands
are meeting in Geneva to discuss providing compensation to the
victims of the Rana Plaza and Tazreen factory disasters in
Bangladesh, although several companies were noticeable by their
The talks, chaired by the International Labour Organisation
in Geneva, are aimed at setting up funds to compensate the
victims of both the Rana Plaza disaster in April, when an
eight-storey building collapsed, killing 1,129 people, and the
fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in November 2012 that killed
The collapse of Rana Plaza, a factory built on swampy ground
some 20 miles outside Dhaka, ranks among the world's worst
industrial accidents and has galvanised brands to look more
closely at trying to improve safety standards at suppliers.
About 3.6 million people work in Bangladesh's clothing
industry, making it the world's second-largest clothing exporter
behind China, but some of the workforce, which is mostly female,
earn as little as $38 a month.
Garment exports in the last financial year which ended in
June were up 13 percent at $21.5 billion, with 60 percent of the
clothes going to Europe and 23 percent to the United States,
according to the country's Export Promotion Bureau.
"The families and the injured have already waited far too
long," said Monika Kemperle, assistant general secretary of the
IndustriALL international trade union federation that is
coordinating the talks.
"Companies who are serious about conditions in their
Bangladeshi production chain can send a clear sign of their
sincerity at these meetings," she said in a statement.
IndustriALL is seeking a deal on a long-term fund for Rana
Plaza worth more than 54 million euros ($71.8 million), with 45
percent to be contributed by brands. It plans a statement on the
outcome of the talks, which started on Wednesday, later on
The companies expected to attend included Zara-owner Inditex
, the Primark discount chain owned by Associated British
Foods, Canada's Loblaw Cos Ltd and European
retailer C&A, according to the Clean Clothes Campaign, a group
which has led the drive for compensation and is involved in the
talks. Inditex later said it was not attending as it was not
supplied by either the Tazreen or Rana Plaza factories.
The other firms the Clean Clothes Campaign expected at the
talks are Bonmarche, Matalan and Store Twenty One from Britain,
Germany's Karl Rieker and KiK, Camaieu of France, Mascot of
Denmark and Spanish department store chain El Corte Ingles.
But some retailers have attracted attention for staying
away, including Wal-Mart, which sourced garments from
the factory hit by the fire, as well as Italian clothing
retailer Benetton and Spanish fashion chain Mango, which placed
orders at Rana Plaza.
Benetton's chief executive Baigio Chiarolanza said many
companies had not joined the Geneva talks due to a "lack of
clarity" around objectives and a lack of involvement by several
key stakeholders, without elaborating.
"We decided to focus our efforts and resources in working
directly with those affected by the Rana Plaza disaster and
their families so that we can provide them with concrete help
while they need it the most," he said in a statement.
No one at Wal-Mart or Mango was immediately available to
Since the disasters Wal-Mart has focused on providing loans
to improve factories rather than compensation, joining a North
American safety group that is separate from a European-led group
which includes a larger number of retailers and union groups.
The North American plan has been criticised by groups like
IndustriALL that think the European-led agreement is stronger,
as it uses a binding arbitration process that will be
enforceable in the courts of the country where a company is
IndustriALL said the compensation plan it was working on was
based on a scheme it developed following other factory accidents
that takes into account loss of earnings, pain and suffering, as
well as medical costs, funderal costs and other family expenses.
C&A, KiK and El Corte Ingles already agreed in April to
contribute to a $5.7 million fund for the victims of the Tazreen
fire, but were discussing details of that plan in Geneva.
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson in Berlin; Editing by Greg