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Demand justice for victims of Bangladesh building collapse

On 24 April 2013, over 1,100 people were killed and thousands more injured in the collapse of a building in Bangladesh which housed factories making clothes for Benetton, Primark, Matalan, Mango and other major brands. The majority of the victims were female garment workers. The disaster was entirely preventable.

STOP PRESS:  See the photos from demonstrations led by War on Want supporters outside of Gap shops across the UK on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, demanding that Gap sign the Bangladesh Safety Accord.

View Tears in the Fabric, a deeply moving 30 minute film by the Rainbow Collective and supported by War on Want that documents the struggle for justice of the families of victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse. 

This was the worst accident in a manufacturing facility in recorded history, graphically exposing the failure of the fashion industry to ensure workers’ rights are respected. Yet in its wake huge public pressure has forced the industry to unprecedented change. Now we need to ensure the brands responsible compensate the victims and all companies act to ensure these disasters never happen again.

People and rescuers gather after an eight-story building housing several garment factories collapsed in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Dozens were killed and many more are feared trapped in the rubble.
A.M. Ahad/AP/Press Association Images

The Rana Plaza – an avoidable disaster

This tragedy was a disaster, but it was not an accident. Before the day of the disaster, building inspectors had spotted massive cracks in the building and ordered the evacuation of all the businesses inside. However workers in the garment factories were forced to return to work the following day under threat of punishment from their bosses, where over a thousand of them would later die. Despite the building being audited twice by western brands, the risks were never spotted and nothing was done to prevent it.

The Bangladesh Safety Accord

The day after the Rana Plaza collapsed we launched a petition on behalf of our partners in Bangladesh, the National Garment Workers Federation, calling on brands to sign the Bangladesh Safety Accord. The Accord is a landmark deal, bringing together brands and trade unions in a legally binding agreement to make factories safe.

After 90,000 people signed our petition, over 150 major brands and retailers signed this unprecedented life saving agreement. Pressure from people like you forced these companies to act.

Yet some brands, like Gap, have refused to sign. Take action now: email your MP asking that they write to the Foreign Secretary William Hague, as minister responsible for the UK government’s business and human rights action plan, demanding all brands and retailers on the UK high street join the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and pay a living wage.

Take action


The workers injured and the families of those who died now face a bleak future, without work and without an income. The companies that sourced from these factories failed to ensure that the safety of their workers, now they must compensate the victims of this wholly avoidable tragedy.

Take action now and demand UK high street brands compensate the victims


What you can do now:

  1. Tell your MP to demand that all brands join the fight for decent working conditions
  2. Demand Benetton and Matalan fully compensate the victims of the Rana Plaza disaster
  3. Order free materials about sweatshops and workers' rights
  4. Read our briefing on the disaster, the latest news about Bangladesh and War on Want’s research to find out more about the workers who make our clothes
  5. Join the movement and become a member of War on Want


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