Four months after a building collapse killed more than 1,100 factory workers in Bangladesh, their families are still waiting for adequate — and in some cases, any — compensation. This is a shocking lapse by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government.
After the disaster at Rana Plaza, a poorly constructed eight-story building outside Dhaka, the capital, Ms. Hasina promised to give the relatives of those who died about $1,250 in cash and $19,000 in savings certificates — amounts that far exceed the roughly $1,250 that factory owners are legally required to pay per victim, but far from sufficient, considering that many victims were young women and men who had a whole lifetime ahead of them. The money was supposed to come from the government and from private donations by, among others, the factory owners.
But the government has yet to distribute most of that money. It has provided sums ranging from $1,250 to $5,000 to about 777 families, far short of the total compensation it had promised, according to the Solidarity Center, a Washington-based group that helps workers around the world form unions. Also, many of the remaining families have not received any aid at all because the government has not moved fast enough to identify nearly 300 bodies.
Compensating victims’ families in a tragedy as big as the collapse of Rana Plaza would strain the resources of a poor country like Bangladesh. But Ms. Hasina’s administration can do a much better job....