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Thursday, Oct 24, 2013

LONDON - Clothing retailer Primark on Thursday announced that it is to provide further compensation to victims of the Bangladesh garment factory collapse that killed more than 1,000 people in April.

British charity ActionAid said Thursday it had surveyed more than 2,000 of the survivors and their families and found that 94 percent had not received any benefits from their employers, including sick pay or compensation.

Primark called on other brands who were supplied by the Rana Plaza factories, including Walmart, Mango and Benetton, to pay further short-term aid to the victims until a permanent deal is worked out.

A two-day meeting of major brands in Geneva last month - aimed at reaching a compensation deal for the Raza Plaza collapse and other Bangladeshi factory disasters - ended in failure, according to organisers.

Primark, one of many international retailers which were supplied by factories housed within the Rana Plaza complex, said it would pay an extra three months' salary to 3,600 victims and their families while the terms of a long-term compensation deal are worked out.

The discount fashion brand, which has 258 stores across Europe, had made two earlier payments to the 550 staff of the factory inside Raza Plaza that supplied it.

But it said it the third payment would be given to wider victims of the April 24 disaster on the outskirts of Dhaka, many of whom were left with terrible injuries.

"Primark will guarantee a further three months salary to the 3,600 or so victims of Rana Plaza to alleviate their immediate hardship, many of whom worked in the supply chain of other brands," a spokesman said.

The company is "confident" that it will be able to start paying long-term compensation to the 550 employees of its supplier New Wave Bottoms by early 2014, he added.

Primark is a subsidiary of British food company Associated British Foods but has its headquarters in Ireland.

It has stores in Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, Belgium and Austria as well as Britain and Ireland.

Six months on from the disaster, former workers at the complex have complained that many other retailers have failed to provide any compensation.