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Benetton & Mango stores face protests over failure to compensate Bangladesh disaster victims

Activists will today protest outside Mango and Benetton fashion stores in London’s Oxford Street over the retailers’ failure to compensate families of workers killed, as well as the injured, after the Bangladesh building collapse.

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One month after the Rana Plaza disaster which killed 1,127 people, mainly female garment workers, demonstrators will demand justice for bereaved relatives and many garment workers, now left without any income, who are struggling to survive with their families.

Mango and Benetton labels were found in the rubble of the Rana Plaza, but as yet both companies have refused to pay any compensation. This week Benetton announced it will offer health assistance and financial support, yet has so far rejected calls for full compensation to the victims.

Campaigners will be dressed in black clothes, and hold flowers and candles, to commemorate workers killed in the disaster. A coffin will also be carried as a reminder of the deadly outcomes from a factory monitoring system which activists claim puts profits before workers’ safety and failed to present this disaster.

Protesters will declare that another catastrophe like the Rana Plaza tragedy must never happen again, in Bangladesh or elsewhere.

The demonstrations have been organised by the students’ group People & Planet, together with War on Want, the South Asia Solidarity Group, Freedom Without Fear Platform, UK Feminista and Labour Behind the Label.

Ruth Fox, Corporate Power Campaign Coordinator at People & Planet, said: “More than a month after this tragic incident, Mango and Benetton still refuse to take responsibility for workers killed or injured while making their clothes. This is unacceptable. These companies make huge profits from operating in Bangladesh. Yet when a major disaster occurs, they turn a blind eye.

“We demand immediate compensation for the workers and families affected by the building’s collapse. We are also calling for an independent factory monitoring system - accountable to workers, not big corporations - which will help to ensure terrible tragedies such as this never happen again.”

The action is being taken in solidarity with and supporting workers in Bangladesh. Amirul Haque Amin, President of the National Garment Workers Federation, one of the largest garment workers’ trade unions in Bangladesh said “This disaster was a calamity waiting to happen because high street chains failed to ensure proper safety measures. Now we demand compensation.”

CONTACT: War on Want media officer Paul Collins (+44) (0)20 7324 5054 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

Notes to editors

For Mango’s confirmation of orders from the factories see - http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130425/mango-says-orders-placed-bangladesh-plant

For Benetton’s confirmation of links to the factories see http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/29/benetton-link-collapsed-building-bangladesh

For more details of the compensation offered by different companies see http://www.cleanclothes.org/news/2013/05/24/background-rana-plaza-tazreen

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