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Examining globalisation

9 March 2021

Year 8 pupils have been studying a tragic moment in our recent history - the deadly collapse of a Bangladeshi garment factory in 2013 that resulted in a death toll of more than 1,100 people.

Now acknowledged as the deadliest structural failure accident in modern times, the Rana Plaza collapse shocked the world. The building housed garment factories employing people creating items for brands ranging from Gucci and Verace to Matalan and Primark, plus shops, and a bank. Despite cracks appearing the day before, the buildings’ owners ignored warnings and garment workers were ordered to return to work. The collapse of the building during rush hour, which resulted in 1,134 deaths and 2,500 people injured, led to international horror and discussions about corporate social responsibility across global supply chains.

Geography teacher, Ms Milner, explains: “Year 8 have been completing our unit on globalisation throughout this online learning period. Using their knowledge of economic globalisation, pupils were tasked with conducting an investigation into who should be held accountable for the tragic Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh. 

“Akash, from 8P, produced an excellent piece of writing where he carefully examined and weighed up the evidence against different 'suspects' and their involvement in the collapse. Akash’s work, shown below, demonstrated a real sense of social justice in his consideration of ethics, corporate responsibility, and the role of the state in regulating working conditions. Well done, Akash!”

Responsibility for the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013
by Akash in Year 8

I think the person who is most at fault is Mr Rana himself. He had the choice to create a safer working environment but he decided against doing so. He most likely did this to save money – so that he could make more profit consequently missing key warnings which could've saved many lives. Whilst you can say that the majority of the blame should go onto the factory as they are the one setting out the standards for their workers – we must remember the companies role in this collapse.  

Primark and H&M are big global companies who make billions each year – and the fact that they can't afford to source their work to factories where the working conditions are actually good – is appalling to me. We must remember that Primark and H&M choose this factory most likely based on the price rather than the standards of work – they had a choice to go to another factory but they didn’t as all they saw were the potential for profits.  

Primark and H&M are the people who I thinks should get more if not the same amount of blame as Mr Rana and his company – those two companies alone paid money to Mr Rana's company when there were most likely better more ethical solutions in other companies.   

It could also be argued the corrupt officials of the Bangladeshi Government have some part to blame in this. As if they completed the safety jobs as they should've been doing so – they could've avoided the whole catastrophe saving lives. Its evident to me that the officials in Bangladesh are more or less just after the money and don't care about the knock on effects. 

Overall – I think everyone listed above had some major impact in the whole thing, if it wasn't for the Bangladeshi Government being corrupt – the safety issues would've been addressed – if Primark and H&M didn't support businesses like this – Mr Rana would have to create better working standards for everyone working there. And finally if Mr Rana created a safe working environment without interference from any other organisation, he wouldn't be in this situation.  

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