Summary of eleventh CC meeting, May 12th 2014
a) Processing update
The Executive Commissioner informed that the processing of the 50,000 BDT payments had been done for most of the claimants, using the list provided by Primark (except NWB workers who are being paid the 50,000 BDT directly by Primark) . However, 675 names on the list could not be paid due to inaccuracies in the data and the RPCA is now prioritising the identifying of those people with the necessary verification. (link to progress report for more info)
Primark reported that payments had been made to all but 27 of the NWB workers. The difficulties in making these payments are being resolved and information in this regard will be made available to the CC
The CC noted the agitation by unpaid workers and urged that remaining payments be made as soon as possible.
The first instalment of awards was delayed to mid-June due to software and data issues as well as work on the 50,000 BDT payment.
b) Claims procedures
The CC discussed proposed procedures to use for deducting and off-setting payments and services already provided, which aim to ensure fair and equitable treatment among all the victims and their families.
- Procedure for Deductions from individual entitlements:
The Chair explained that Rule 1 was proposed to ensure equitable treatment among all the victims and their families. The deductions would involve only payments confirmed as received by claimants and their families (in cash or bank accounts). Medical costs were not deductible from the awards under Rule 1. She clarified that the 9 months income replacement provided through bKash from Primark and other brands would not be deductible.
The Executive Commissioner confirmed that he had received information from the Government and a list of payments made by the Prime Minister’s Fund since the accident to victims or their families. He reported that the level of individual payments diverged widely, e.g., from 1 to 15 lakh.
For implementation of the procedure, the CC decided to prioritize awards to victims or families who have received no payments from the Prime Ministers Fund, and to further give priority in awards to those for whom the PM Fund payments did not satisfy the full amount of their entitlement.
ILO Dhaka will hold further consultations with the national CC members in coordination with the Executive Commissioner in regard to considering deductions, with any report to be shared to the CC by 22 May to enable it to make a final decision on the Procedure for deductions from individual entitlements.
UPDATE to the above: the Procedure for Deductions was adopted by the CC on June 11, 2014 by email subject to implementation priorities set out above
- Offsetting Procedure:
The CC adopted a separate procedure for handling donations or services already provided which could be offset from the estimated total required for all benefits.. This procedure does not affect individual claims, but considers costs that would have been covered by the Fund, but are already covered elsewhere (e.g payments for medical services for injured workers to medical care providers). Such requests should be sent to the Executive Commissioner with a copy to the ILO Chair. The CC will form a subcommittee to take final decisions on the recommendations of the RPCA on offsetting requests, and report them to the CC. Donors whose contributions are recognized for offsetting purposes may request to be listed on the CC website list of donors.
2. Trust Fund
a) Totals in Fund
The treasurer informed the committee that as of 30th April 2014 the amount held in the trust Fund stood at USD $9,905,492.45. The fixed pledges are at approximately USD 200,000 with a number still under consideration. The total amount for about 600 beneficiaries from the New Wave Bottoms factory to be paid by Primark is expected to be recognized under the coordinated scheme at around USD 7,000,000. Thus, the total resources available for disbursement under the auspices of the coordinated scheme are currently around USD $17,000,000.
A call with a number of US and European brands was held on the 29th April. New approaches to fundraising were discussed included sending funds to the RP Donor Trust Fund via BRAC USA, in order to faciliate smaller donations.
The international communications subcommittee of the CC will prepare a letter to brands to encourage further donations.
Investigations by ILO Dhaka and the Executive Commissioner into setting up a local account to facilitate local donations are ongoing.
3. Public outreach
- website translation: While translating the website into Bangla was a welcome move for promoting transparency, it will not be significant in assisting public awareness or fundraising. Donor audiences generally work in English and the beneficiaries, who might be interested in reading the website do not generally have internet access. It may however be useful for local activists and trade unions so the CC trade union members will translate some text specifically for this purpose.
Other possible donors, including governmental donors and appeals to the public, will be followed up by members of the Comms Working group.
4. Administration and finance:
The Chair noted with appreciation that the third revised Operating Budget was significantly reduced by the donation in effect made by the Commissioners of their salaries to the funds available for victims’ awards.
The CC approved in principle the proposal to reimburse claimants for reasonable lodging and board costs incurred through travelling long distance to the Savar claims office and to apply this on a case by case basis. An estimated cost and secure method of distribution will be informed by the Executive Commissioner.
The operating budget was approved, with an agreement to add in reimbursement of travel and lodging costs once a estimate has been received.
b) official records
The CC approved a proposal to compile and circulate a compendium of CC decisions to its members for information and reference. The RPCA and the ILO will follow up.