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French supermarket to face charges one year after the Rana Plaza tragedy

media Auchan supermarket in Calais, France.

One year after the collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka, three non-governmental organisations have filed the first European complaint against French supermarket chain Auchan for dishonest commercial practice.

The three French NGOs – “Peuples Solidaires”, “Ethique sur l’étiquette” and “Sherpa” - have accused the supermarket of lying to their customers about production conditions abroad after investigations revealed that Auchan labels were found in the rubble of the collapsed factory.

On April 24, 2013, the factory collapsed claiming 1,138 lives and wounding over 2,000 more.

The law suit was sent to a French prosecutor in the northern French city of Lille – in the same region of Auchan’s headquarters – and the NGO's hope an investigation will be launched as soon as possible.

Auchan has denied having any relation with Rana Plaza and said it had been the victim of  “concealed subcontracting”.

The supermarket said it has taken measures since the tragedy, including signing the “Fire and Safety Agreement” with 158 companies worldwide in an effort to improve building safety measures in Bangladesh's textile sector.

The NGOs said that even though Auchan cannot be held responsible for the deaths of its subcontractor employees, the supermarket should be “vigilant in its entire production chain”.

The associations are also pressing the French government to pass a draft law that makes multinational companies responsible for its subcontractors and subsidiary activities.

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