Campaigners Call on Matalan to Pay Out
In the days following the collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured 2,000, clothing produced for Matalan’s Papaya label was photographed in the rubble. The company have since acknowledged that one of their suppliers was located in the Rana Plaza building but have so far failed to pay a penny into to the compensation scheme set up under the auspices of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, established in February, needs to collect £24million pounds in order to provide full and fair compensation to the victims of the garment industries worst ever industrial disaster. To date out of 26 brands known to be sourcing at the building only 14 brands have contributed, with the majority of making only token initial payments.
Campaigners say that Matalan can afford to pay. Based on a US model of using large, out of town retail units selling low cost fashion items, Matalan makes over £100million profit each year. Its success has turned Matalan’s owner John Hargreaves into one of Britain’s wealthiest businessmen, netting him a personal fortune of over £2 billion.
“For Matalan and its owners £3million is pocket money. For those families struggling to survive after losing not only families members but much needed income it mean the difference between remaining destitute or being able to rebuild their lives.” said Sam Maher of Labour Behind the Label. “It is now almost a year since the disaster and it is an outrage that compensation has still not been paid, it is time for Matalan to pay up.”
On Matalan’s website the company claim to have donated to the Bangladesh charity BRAC. Campaigners say this is not enough.
In the run up to the anniversary Labour Behind the Label will be calling on supporters to take a variety of actions to put pressure on the company to pay up including e-petitions, social media actions and demonstrations at Matalan stores.
The call for Matalan to Pay Up is part of a global campaign that is targeting other global brands including Italian brand Benetton, US brands Children’s Place and Walmart and French brand Auchan.