Victory in Benetton campaign
Tuesday 24 February 2015, 10am
John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary today (Tuesday, 24 February) welcomed news that Benetton will pay compensation to the victims of the 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, where more than 1000 workers lost their lives and thousands more were left with serious injuries.
Mr Douglas said, "The news that Benetton has committed to pay compensation to the victims of Rana Plaza is a massive boost to the families and survivors of the one of the biggest workplace tragedies of all time. There is no doubt that Benetton has only agreed to pay this compensation as a result of international pressure, and it really shows that when we organise and mobilise internationally, we can achieve significant change and ensure justice is done."
In reaction to the news that Benetton will compensate victims, UNI Global Union and IndustriALL - the two global unions campaigning on behalf of the victims - issued the following response.
UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said:
“We understand that Benetton promises to step up and take their share of the responsibility for the victims of the Rana Plaza tragedy.
“For a company with a profit of more than US200 million dollars and turnover of US1.6 billion dollars, we expect Benetton to show their most generous colours. UNI and IndustriALL are ready to talk to ensure fair compensation.”
IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina said:
"We’re pleased that at long last Benetton has promised to pay into the Rana Plaza Trust Fund. Now, it’s time for Benetton to show us the colour of their money.
“We call on Benetton to do what’s morally right and compensate with compassion. We expect to see a significant contribution to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund by Benetton in keeping with a major brand that sourced from Rana Plaza and has a considerable investment in Bangladesh."
Although UNI Global Union and IndustriALL are cautiously welcoming the move, they highlighted some outstanding issues that urgently need to be resolved with regards to Benetton’s payment.
· Almost two years since the Rana Plaza tragedy, the global unions questioned Benetton’s decision to delay its payment further and to confirm the amount it intends to pay. The unions call on Benetton to clarify these points well ahead of the second anniversary of the disaster on April 24th 2015.
· The process on who will decide the amount that Benetton will pay remains unclear. Benetton says an “independent, globally recognised third party” will advise the company but refuses to reveal its identity.
The two global unions urged caution regarding Benetton keeping its promises of payment and pointed out that Benetton was initially involved in the U.N.-backed Rana Plaza compensation arrangements from the beginning but pulled out before the trust fund was set up.
UNI Global Union and IndustriALL led the implementation of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety – the legally binding agreement signed by the two global unions with almost 200 global brands from 20 countries across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. Almost half of all Bangladeshi factories for the export market and 2 million workers are covered by its scope.
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