World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


EU Must Push For Rights In Bangladesh Garment Sector

EU Must Push For Fundamental Rights In Bangladesh Garment Sector
 
Brussels, 5 May 2013 (ITUC OnLine ):  The global union movement has welcomed the European Commission's commitment to press Bangladesh to meet international labour standards.  European Commissioners Catherine Ashton and Karel De Gucht made the pledge in a joint statement following the horrific building collapse in Savar, Bangladesh that has claimed some 600 lives and left many more seriously injured in one of the world's worst industrial disasters. The threat of EU action under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), rarely invoked, further underscores the concern.
 
"The EU should use its considerable leverage to encourage brands sourcing from Bangladesh to sign up to a binding and enforceable agreement on fire and building safety, in which workers and trade unions play an active role," said Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union.
 
"The industry's promotion of corporate auditing to identify and remedy problems is yet again revealed as a cruel hoax, as corporate auditor BSCI had recently certified factories operating in the Rana Plaza building," said Raina. "A voluntary approach that relies merely on corporate goodwill - which has been largely absent - would be a mistake.   Promotion of more corporate auditing is no solution to the problem," said Raina.
 
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said "Once again, workers have paid with their lives for the cosy but ultimately lethal relationships between global brands, ruthless suppliers and corrupt politicians in Bangladesh.  The EU must follow through on its pledge, and act to stop the sham corporate CSR industry doing any more damage."
 
The factories in which garments are produced in Bangladesh for the leading global retailers are well known to be death traps. The situation is made worse by the complete hostility towards trade unions by both the government and garment producers' associations in Bangladesh. The government has for years refused to register unions in the garment sector. Only due to substantial international pressure have new unions begun to receive legal recognition in the past months.
 
Philip Jennings, general Secretary of UNI Global Union which organises workers in the retail sector, said "UNI and its affiliates are demanding that retailers around the world sign an enforceable agreement which protects workers in Bangladesh from the unacceptable dangers of fire and building hazards and ensures these workers will have full access to the best form of health and safety  protection:  a union.  They can't hide from their responsibility - the time to step up to a real agreement is now."
 
The ITUC, IndustriALL Global Union and IndustriAll European Trade Union say that the EU must also not view the situation as a safety and health matter alone. If workers have a strong union, it is far more likely that they will be able to negotiate for safer workplaces and to remove themselves from danger quickly when it arises. The EU must therefore ensure that freedom of association is at the centre of any engagement with the government.  Along with this, pressure must be put on the industry and the government, to ensure that workers are paid a living wage.  The government, under employer pressure, has refused to raise the $36 minimum monthly wage.
 
"New legislation that complies with ILO standards and the efficient registration of new unions will be vital to avoid future tragedies. The current labour code amendments recently passed by the cabinet leave many issues raised by the ILO and trade unions regarding freedom of association wholly unaddressed," said Sharon Burrow.
 
"The EU must also insist that those responsible for the torture and murder of trade union activist Aminul Islam last year be arrested and prosecuted without further delay," said Burrow.
 
Bernadette Ségol, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) calls on the Commission to adopt a new strategy for the Corporate Social Responsibility programme 2011-2014. "We must ensure that all multinationals operating in Europe commit to respecting the International Labour Organisation’s declaration on tripartite principles concerning multinational enterprises and  social policy. "
 
A recent report by the US trade union centre AFL-CIO "Responsibility Outsourced" http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/csreport_final_en.pdf  details the appalling track record of corporate-backed "social audit" firms, including other cases where auditors failed to act on fatally dangerous factories and helped companies with US-style union avoidance strategies.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Peace Deal ‘first Step’ In Resolving South Sudan Crisis

Children at a protection of civilians site in Juba, South Sudan, run by the UN Mission, perform at a special cultural event in March 2015. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine More>>

Yemen: Killing Or Maiming An Average Of Eight Children A Day

Killing or maiming an average of eight children a day, ‘brutal’ Yemen conflict must end – UNICEF More>>

Changing Habits/behaviours Key To Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy can be caused by factors such as negative beliefs based on myths, misinformation. Fear of needles can be a factor for refusal. Photo: PAHO/WHO More>>

Burundi: Ban Condemns Assassination Of Senior Army Officer

Refugees from Burundi in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Photo: OCHA/Naomi Frerotte United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the assassination Burundi’s former Army Chief of Staff, Colonel Jean Bikomagu, who ... More>>

Deadly Industrial Explosions In Northern China

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the injuries to scores of people as a result of deadly explosions in Tianjin, China. More>>

UN Urges Action To Tackle Deepening Refugee Crisis In Greece

A group of Syrian refugees arrive on the island of Lesbos after travelling in an inflatable raft from Turkey, near Skala Sykaminias, Greece. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell More>>

Probe Into Those Responsible For Chemical Weapons In Syria

The US Vessel Cape Ray, on which all 581 metric tonnes of a precursor chemical for sarin gas were removed from Syria and safely destroyed as the ship sailed in international waters in 2014. Photo: US Dept. of Transportation More>>

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news