Asia

Benetton to pay into Dhaka factory collapse fund

Rescue workers look for trapped garment workers at the collapsed Rana Plaza on 26 April 2013 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption More than 3,000 people were killed or injured in the disaster

Fashion retailer Benetton says it will contribute to an international compensation fund for victims of a factory collapse that killed 1,138 people in Bangladesh.

The decision follows pressure from campaigners, who accused the company of dragging its heels over providing financial aid.

Benetton was one of several fashion brands linked to the Rana Plaza complex.

It has not said how much it will pay.

More than one million people signed a petition on the campaigning website Avaaz urging the Italian company to pay into the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, or face embarrassing protests during next week's Milan fashion week.

The nine-storey factory collapsed in Dhaka on 23 April 2013, after warnings from workers and local journalists that it was unsafe.

Benetton said it was working with a "globally-recognised third party" to establish how much it should pay out to survivors and families of the dead.

Walmart, Primark and Matalan were among the other well-known brands who made clothes there.

Image copyright Francois Mori
Image caption There have been numerous demonstrations calling on Benetton to help survivors and grieving families
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Many have struggled to recover since losing their lost loved ones and livelihoods

The fund is being organised by the UN's International Labour Organisation. It has raised $21m (£13.6m) to date but needs another $9m (£5.8m) to meet its compensation commitments.

Benetton said its contribution would be a "second step" in its efforts to help the victims.

It has already established its own support programme in partnership with Brac, a Bangladeshi development organisation.

Those campaigning on behalf of victims of the Rana Plaza disaster have welcomed the firm's decision, but have urged bosses to confirm the amount they intend to pay.

Jyrki Raina, general secretary of the union IndustriALL, said: "Now, it's time for Benetton to show us the colour of their money.

"We call on them to do what's morally right and compensate with compassion."

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