Activists are ramping up the pressure on Italian fashion giant Benetton to pay into the Rana Plaza victims’ compensation fund, claiming that nearly 1m people have signed a petition backing their campaign.

To date 5,000 people – dependents of the deceased as well as injured workers – have received 40% of the total compensation payment due to them, according to the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee, which is chaired by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

But while around US$21m has been received in donations in the past year, the Fund is still $9m short of its target. Campaigners are now urging brands to pay more to bring the Fund up to $30m so that the victims will receive their full compensation by the second anniversary of the garment factory disaster in ten weeks’ time.

The Clean Clothes Campaign and the International Labor Rights Forum are urging Benetton to pay $5m into the Fund, saying it is the only major international brand with confirmed links to Rana Plaza that has so far made no contribution.

Other companies such as Children’s Place, Inditex (Zara), Mango, and Walmart are also criticised for failing to contribute a “significant and proportional amount.” 

However, Inditex contributed to the fund as "the right thing to do," despite withdrawing its production from Rana Plaza before the disaster, over concerns about safety. The Spanish company is also on the steering committee of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, as well as being one of the signatories.

The Bangladeshi Prime Minister's Fund, which collected numerous donations following the disaster, and the Bangladeshi factory owners’ association (the BGMEA), should also contribute to the Fund, the campaigners say.

The online activist network Avaaz recently joined campaign efforts, launching a global campaign and petition addressing Benetton on 5 February. Within 24 hours, over 500,000 people had signed the petition.