BANGLADESH: European delegation voices worker safety concerns
A delegation from the European Parliament has voiced concerns on the progress made to improve conditions in Bangladeshi garment factories, saying more needs to be done.
The EP delegation visited the country earlier this week, and held extensive discussions with Commerce Minister Tofail and stakeholders in the ready-made garment sector.
The mission, led by the Honourable Jean Lambert, chairperson of the delegation for relations with South Asia, assessed the progress made to improve factory safety and workers' rights, notably with the reform of the Labour Law and the commitment to hire 200 new safety inspectors.
However, it noted that more work lies ahead. "European buyers and Bangladeshi owners should continue to fulfil their commitments under the EU-Bangladesh Global Sustainability Compact," the delegation said in a statement.
The delegation concluded the government should implement rules for the Labour Law, deploy the inspectors, ensure a comprehensive publication of their reports, enforce the rise in the minimum wage, and the compensation and rehabilitation of all the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse.
"Time matters: it is crucial that these measures be effective by 24 April 2014, which will mark the first anniversary of the catastrophe," the group said.
While Lambert added: "When European consumers purchase clothes, they want to be sure that these have been produced by people who are safe at work and earn a decent living."
Among other concerns are the reported incidents of violence and vote rigging in the January 2014 elections and the current local elections.
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