EU delegation praise Bangladesh RMG Industry’s progress and called on for alignment of Bangladesh Labor Unions Act

Staff correspondent       
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The Visiting socialize members of the European Parliament have commended Bangladesh’s readymade garment industry’s progress in ensuring factory safety and called on Bangladesh to address four issues including placement of Bangladesh Labor Unions Act.

EU delegation praise Bangladesh RMG Industry’s progress and called on for alignment of Bangladesh Labor Unions Act
Figure 1: EU delegation praise Bangladesh RMG Industry’s progress and called on for alignment of Bangladesh Labor Unions Act

A four member of European parliamentary delegation Arne Lietz, Linda McAvan, Norbert Neuser, and Agnes Jogerius commended on 29 March 2017 at EU office in Dhaka, concluding their three- day visit when they interacted with the speaker of the parliament, Minister for Commerce, State Minister for labour, BGMEA leaders and also called on the Prime Minister.

They also visited two factories in the outskirts of Dhaka. “To me, the image of Bangladesh was not very good before this visit. Now I think I have to change it in a strong way. We saw a lot of excellent progress. When I go back to Germany from Bangladesh, I can tell good Stories”, said Norbert Neuser, the member of EU delegation.

The visit took place ahead of the May 18 review of the sustainability compact which was rolled out after the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013 and the June annual International labor Conference of the ILO.

Arne Lietz, a member of the European parliament and head of visiting EU parliamentary said, “We found very positive development and we will go back to Brussels with a note that you have done a lot in ensuring safety. Accord has been very successful. We will talk positive samples from Bangladesh back to Brussels.”

The European Union is currently examining the whole issue of “fairness” in the garment supply chains worldwide.

In a written statement Arne Lietz said, the accord and alliance are encouraging examples of what can be achieved when companies, governments and worker pool efforts to improve standards.

The ILO called on Bangladesh to address four issues which are “full alignment of respectively, the EPZ draft law, the Bangladesh Labor Act, with the UN core labor convention modalities for establishing trade unions and the right of trade unions to operate freely”.

The MEPs said, as a members of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, their engagement with Bangladesh, as with other countries, is guided by core values, where respect for human rights and labor rights, in particular, freedom of association and collective bargaining “rank high”.

“That is why the full implementation of the sustainability compact is so important in our view,” The MEPs said.

On Tuesday, 28 March 2017, EU delegation met the Ministry for Commerce & State minister for labor. The government will adjust Workers Welfare Association (WWA) with the ILO convention to ensure equal rights for workers employed in the country’s Export Processing Zones (EPZ) and beyond.

State minister for Labor, Mujibul Haque said, “We feel there is a need for amendment to some provisions of Labor Act and we will sit with the national tripartite consultation committee on the amendment.”

On 27 March 2017, after the meet with EU delegation, BGMEA President said, “We have broadly and openly discussed about labor rights issue especially in the export processing zone (EPZs) in the meeting”.

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