One year ago, 1,135 people lost their lives and thousands more were injured in the Rana Plaza disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It was one of the worst industrial workplace tragedies in human history.
The picture above, provided to us by the UFCW, illustrates the pain and anguish that is still felt by the families — and pain which unfortunately time can only massage, never heal. One of the stories to emerge from the pain is the lack of compensation paid by some of the world biggest employers - including the largest, Walmart — which could help improve the lives of the families of the bereaved and the injured directly.
In the aftermath, due to pressure from global trade unions, an Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was established — a groundbreaking agreement to improve factory safety and working conditions.
Some minor improvements to the labour law have, however, fallen well short of international standards, and hundreds of thousands of workers in Export Processing Zones are still prohibited from forming unions.
Many companies have signed the Accord, but others - and yes, you've guessed it, these include Walmart — have not. Walmart and Gap instead tried to undermine the Accord by creating their own, self-regulating version.
It is important to state that this is a $48bn textile industry worldwide, yet only a handful of clothing brands and retailers have proactively contributed to the new fund aimed at raising $40m for victims of the disaster. The families of those killed by negligence and the injured were earning as little as $38 a month, yet have had their misery compounded by this injustice.
It is not only the corporations who have ignored their responsibilities, but also governments, who have failed to ensure a fairer, safer, working environment in the interests of us all. Another world is possible but it will not happen by chance or by passivity.
Genuine change takes courage and bravery, like the families campaigning for justice in Dhaka — let us take our inspiration from them.
Andrew Brady is director of Union Solidarity International, a pan-national body which exists to further the cause of trade unions and oppose neoliberalism.