Bangladesh needs to prevent the “exploitation” of textile workers: European Parliament

Bangladesh needs to prevent the “exploitation” of textile workers: European Parliament

SAM Staff,

Bangladesh needs to “step up” its efforts to prevent the “exploitation” of textile workers, Members of the European Parliament have said in a resolution.

“Textile workers in Bangladesh, many of whom are young women, suffer long working hours, low wages, uncertainty and hazardous conditions. Trade union leaders are often persecuted,” said the resolution adopted on Wednesday.

The 2013 Sustainability Compact, aimed at preventing tragedies like the April 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, has resulted in “moderate improvements” in workplace safety, but respect of workers’ rights is lagging behind, MEPs note in a non-binding resolution adopted by a show of hands.

Reviewing the implementation of the 2013 Compact, MEPs suggest a series of measures.

Those include the government of Bangladesh should swiftly amend the 2013 Labour Act so as to ensure freedom of association, collective bargaining and to recruit more factory inspectors.

“Chair of the INTA Committee, Bernd Lange said: “Despite some progress in recent years, the situation on the ground remains worrisome. We are very concerned about the lack of meaningful progress in implementing the commitments of the Sustainability Compact by Bangladesh.”

“Countries, which disrespect fundamental rights at work, should not be encouraged by benefitting from unrestricted access to our market. The government of Bangladesh will need to demonstrate that it is willing and able to deliver on its promises and the demands of the international community.”

Bangladesh benefits from the most favourable ‘regime’ under the EU’s trade preferences that grant duty and quota-free access to the EU market, except on arms and ammunition.