On April 23, 2013, workers in the large factory and shopping complex known as Rana Plaza, in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka, drew management’s attention to cracks in columns supporting the eight-storey building.
Worried about the building’s safety, workers evacuated the multiple garment factories, bank and shops located within it. An inspection was made of the building later that day.
The next day the workers were told to return to work or risk losing wages or their jobs. Over 3,100 people were in the building when, shortly before 9am, it collapsed. The death toll eventually reached over 1100 workers, but many people remain missing. A rescue and body recovery effort continued for the next two weeks, led, at least initially, by workers and political activists.
Workers’ protests in the wake of the collapse were widespread and spontaneous, leading to a substantial increase in minimum wages, although in many cases companies have either not paid the increase or taken other measures to cut costs at the expense of workers.
Outrage in the wider world led to the establishment of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. In a direct attempt to undermine the Accord, major American retailers led by Walmart established the so-called 'Alliance'.
On our return in November 2014, the site was slowly being swallowed up by the city. Remains of workers were found days after these photos were taken.