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Will Matalan Ever ‘Pay Up’?


38degreesMatalan is the only major British company that used the factory for production and has not contributed to the fund supporting survivors and families of those killed. In result of this, the budget retailer is currently receiving social media backlash.

The official compensation fund, which was set up in the wake of the collapse of the Bangladesh Factory is hugely supported by independent group 38 Degrees, which has launched an online petition to pressure the budget clothing company into donating £3 million pounds to the UN-backed fund.

The petition put forward by 38 Degrees states: “You say you’ve donated to charity, but charity is not the same as official compensation to replace lost income and rebuild shattered lives. Please pay the £3m you owe the Ran Plaza Compensation Trust Fund.”

The 38 Degrees campaign ‘Pay up’ has a goal of 75,000 signatures, which they are close to achieving. Promoting the campaign via Twitter and other social media outlets, the group is gaining quite a following and support in encouraging people to tweet Matalan to ask them to pay the compensation to help the Rana Plaza victims. 38 Degrees are continuously trying to get Matalan to pay up; they will disrupt the retailer’s customer service line, and have threatened to hold demonstrations in front of Matalan’s headquarters in West Lancashire if the company does not pay. Even with the threat of 38 Degrees disrupting sales revenue and the possibility of losing customers Matalan has made no action to donate money to the fund.

Matalan has retaliated against the unethical complaints made against them, arguing that they have decided to fund a local charity in which they have set up a ‘formal three- year strategic partnership. The charity set up is called BRAC – Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Commission, which the company feels is more beneficial to the people of Bangladesh and is for “people who need it most”.

Matalan continued to state, “We have pledged to give 100 percent of the money that we made from the garment manufactured at New Wave (Rana Plaza based supplier) to BRAC; ensuring that every penny goes direct to the people that need it most and is used towards essential medical care and helping them to build a self-sufficient future.” The statement continues, We see this as a real long term strategic commitment to support the work BRAC do and hence are working with the organisation to support their needs far beyond merely a one-off donation.”

Matalan says the reasoning that they are donating to BRAC instead of the official Rana Plaza fund is that Matalan only used Rana Plaza on a short basis and that the employees were not making Matalan clothes when the building collapsed, as the final order was delivered 3 weeks before the incident.

The budget clothing store believes what they have done is justified, yet 38 Degrees disagrees. The debate continues to circulate social media, as more and more people sign the petition to bring justice to the people involved in the Rana Plaza collapse.


Words Dana Rutner

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