Remember the Rana Plaza collapse – and tell Matalan to pay up

This Thursday, 24 April, marks the first anniversary of the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, when 1,138 people lost their lives and 2,000 more were injured as the unsafe building collapsed.

The garment workers were producing clothes for the European and US markets. Labour Behind the Label has been working with the unions to draw up a legally-binding safety agreement, and to set up a fund so that the victims of Rana Plaza and their families can be compensated by the brands .

To date, most of the brands – including UK high street retailers – have either refused to contribute to the fund or have failed to make a significant enough contribution.

There is now a campaign calling on all brands to ‘pay up’.

Here in the UK, Labour Behind the Label is focussing on Matalan, which has not contributed to the fund.

At 11.38 am on Thursday, thousands of people around the world will hold a minute’s silence in memory of the 1,138 people who lost their lives at Rana Plaza.

UNISON members are asked to observe the minute’s silence to commemorate those who died and to sign a Labour Behind the Label petition to tell Matalan to ‘pay up’.

“It is important that we show solidarity with the victims of Rana Plaza,” says UNISON NEC international committee chari Jean Butcher.

“They are workers just like us. Health and safety regulations around the globe are being undermined. And this is the result. Regulations save lives so we will continue to campaign for safe working conditions for all workers.”

A speakers at the union’s recent international seminar, Nazma Akter – who has worked in the garment industry since she was 11 – said: “Cheap clothing, including offers such as ‘two for the price of one’, is delusionary.

“There is no such thing as free clothes. Someone has to pay. And that someone is the workers of Rana Plaza.”

Sign the petition here telling Matalan to pay up

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