War on Want

The anti-poverty charity launched an online petition after the Bangladesh factory tragedy to pressure retailers to pay compensation to the victims' families

The Bangladeshi factory collapse
The Bangladeshi factory collapse

What is it? 

War on Want coordinated with its partner, the Bangladesh National Garment Workers Federation, to launch an online petition the day after the building collapsed in Bangladesh.

The building, which housed garment factories making clothes for Primark, Matalan, Bonmarché and Mango, killed more than 1,000 people.

The petition, hosted on Change.org, calls on retailers to pay compensation for the full loss of earnings to the families of all workers killed or injured in the collapse of the building. It also demands that all four companies sign a legally binding Bangladesh Fire and Safety Agreement to avoid the future deaths of garment workers.

How has it been promoted?

To promote the campaign, the charity has been using its Facebook and Twitter channels, and has been liaising with outside organisations, including the Women’s Institute.

War on Want has also been encouraging the public to write on the Facebook walls of PrimarkMatalan and Mango to tell them how they feel. And it has been working with the media to flag up the petition.

Anything else offline?

The charity held a demonstration outside the flagship Primark store on Oxford Street to pressure the retailer into taking action.

What has the response been like?

So far, more than 80,000 people have signed the petition, surpassing the charity’s expectations. War on Want now hopes to reach 100,000 signatures and will keep promoting the campaign until the retailers react to public pressure.

What have the retailers done so far?

Primark has since committed to compensate the families of workers killed or injured, while Matalan has promised to provide "financial and other support". Bonmarché has pledged to give "practical and financial assistance". Mango has yet to act.

Third Sector verdict:

War on Want was extremely quick to react after the tragedy, capitalising on public feeling. The reach of the campaign has been extended by means of teaming up with appropriate partners. This campaign is destined to surpass the new target.

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