A delegation of the European Parliament is visiting Bangladesh this week, ahead of the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse in which more than 1,100 garment workers lost their lives.  

The mission, led by the Honourable Jean Lambert, chairperson of the delegation for relations with South Asia, will take place today and tomorrow (24-25 March).

Discussions will centre on the implementation of the measures aimed at improving factory safety and workers' rights, notably the EU-Bangladesh Global Sustainability Compact.

The "global sustainability compact" was agreed between the European Union (EU) and Bangladesh last July to address labour abuses in the Bangladeshi garment industry.

Under the compact, Bangladesh promised to strengthen workers' rights on freedom to organise trade unions and engage in collective bargaining with management, rights that are not widely available in the country.

Concerned that the political parties did not manage to agree on an inclusive mechanism for the January 2014 elections, this week's EP delegation will also discuss the post-election scenario as well as social and economic issues with key Bangladeshi decision-makers and civil society representatives.