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Matalan criticised over Rana Plaza compensation

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Budget fashion retailer Matalan is facing a social media backlash after it rejected further calls for it to pay into the official Rana Plaza compensation fund set up in the wake of the deadly collapse of the Bangladeshi factory. The retailer is being targeted by independent campaign group 38

Degrees, as it is the only major British customer of the factory that has not contributed to the official fund. 38 Degrees has launched an online petition to pressure the budget chain to donate the 3 million pounds it claims the retailer owes the UN-backed fund.

The petition 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 3 million pounds you owe the Rana Plaza Compensation Trust Fund.”

The group’s ‘Pay Up’ campaign has targeted 75,000 signatures, which it is close to achieving, and has been promoting its cause on social media channels asking followers to tweet Matalan to ask them to pay compensation to Rana Plaza victims. The organisation has also been disrupting the retailer’s customer service line and has stated that it will hold a demonstration outside Matalan’s headquarters in West Lancashire, if the retailer doesn’t pay up.

Matalan has argued that instead of contributing to the official fund it has instead established a “formal three-year strategic partnership” with a local charity partner in the region, BRAC, the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Commission, which means that “people who need it most” will receive support.

In a statement, the retailer said: “We have pledged to give 100 percent of the money that we made from the garments 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.”

Matalan sets up three-year charity partnership in Bangladesh

Matalan added: “We believe if every one of the retailers that had garments produced in Rana Plaza gave just a small proportion of the money that they made as a result to helping the survivors and their families, then well over 40 million dollars could be raised.”

The reasoning behind the decision is that it had only used Rana Plaza on a short pilot basis and that the final order was delivered three weeks before the building collapsed and killed 1,129 workers and injuring 2,515.

The statement continued: “We see this as a real long term strategic commitment to support the work BRAC doand hence are working with the organisation to support their needs far beyond merely a one-off donation.

“In order to come to this decision we have undertaken a significant level of due diligence and have looked to avoid public debates of where the right place to put our support should be. Following our recent visits to Bangladesh to review the work that is being done, we absolutely know the activity BRAC is undertaking is ensuring our support is going to those who need it most.”

Images: 38 Degrees campaign and Matalan

38 Degrees
Brac uk
Matalan