Benetton Occupation: Corporation Still Hasn't Paid for Rana Plaza Collapse


'Today 5 activists occupied United Colors of Benetton, St. Stephen's Green [Dublin] asking Benetton to honour their pledge of 5 million dollars to the victims of the Rana Plaza Collapse [deadliest garment factory incident in history] which claimed the lives of 1134 people and left over 2500 casualties.

Within 16 minutes of entering the shop 4 Gardaí arrived and asked the manager to tell us to leave.

The Gardaí then removed us one by one using unnecessary force. The result was the security saying we were now barred from the shopping centre.

Boycott Benetton!' - statement from one of those occupying the Benetton shop today.

This is yet another event which highlights the inhumane nature of our political system. A factory collapsed in Bangladesh due to appalling safety standards and carelessness, where there is huge pressure on unionised workers. Even after cracks appeared in the building and the building was deemed unsafe and evacuated, workers were ordered back the next day due to the drive to meet fast order deadlines and make profits.

United Colours of Benetton makes yearly profits of more than US$200 million and revenue of US$1.6 billion dollars, yet they refuse to compensate the victims of the factory collapse (and 5 million is not even a lot of money with which to compensate thousands of people). Police did not raid Benetton offices and demand they pay up. No, there were no repercussions from the state for this powerful corporation.

Yet Gardaí were at hand in 16 minutes - about the time to quickly shower and get dressed - ready to remind protesters of the sanctity of Benetton's private property rights, the same private property rights which allows them to exploit thousands of workers globally and put their lives in danger.

However, boycotting will not solve the problem. In a capitalist society, scum rises. Where one corporation falters, another predator will take its place. Only a massive struggle against the system itself can bring us to the better future we all want.