• October 18, 2017
  • ETUC

The European Union and the Bangladesh garment industry: the failure of the Sustainability Compact

In a new white paper released today and sent to the European Commission, Clean Clothes Campaign, the International Trade Union Confederation, the European Trade Union Confederation, IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union provide clear evidence that, despite signing a “Sustainability Compact” with the European Union four years ago, the Government of Bangladesh remains in violation of this Compact, failing to make vital reforms required to ensure its garment industry complies with core international labour standards.

white paper focuses on four key areas which have remained a major focus of concern for the EU, the ILO, unions and labour rights groups, and other stakeholders in the international community following the catastrophic collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, including labour law reform, freedom of association in the Export Processing Zones (EPZs), improving union registration and the curtailing of anti-union discrimination.

The Sustainability Compact for Bangladesh includes a number of specific and time-bound actions in these four issue areas which the Government of Bangladesh committed itself to implementing when it signed the Compact in 2013. However, although Bangladesh continues to fall behind on the required actions, the EU has yet to launch a trade investigation in Bangladesh to confirm the extent to which core labour and human rights standards are being met.

On behalf of Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) Ben Vanpeperstraete states: “There is insufficient progress towards labour law reform, no clarity as to what action will be taken to improve workers associational rights in the EPZs, a steep deterioration in union registration practices and a long list of severe violence against unions. The Bangladesh government has had over four years, considerable technical and financial support and numerous opportunities to demonstrate their commitment to reform.”



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