High Level meeting on trade and labour conditions in Bangladesh: extracts from the press conference by Karel De Gucht
Type: Summary of press conference
Geneva - WTO
On 8 July 2013, Karel De Gucht, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and Dipu Moni, Bangladeshi Minister for Foreign Affairs, launched a joint initiative for improving conditions for workers in Bangladeshi garment factories. The move is a response to the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka in April 2013 which resulted in over 1,100 deaths. The Sustainability Compact seeks to improve labour, health and safety conditions for workers, as well as to encourage responsible behaviour by businesses in the ready-made garment industry in the South Asian country.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Dipu Moni, Bangladeshi Minister for Foreign Affairs, Karel De Gucht, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, and Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), before the beginning of the press conference
||Soundbite by Karel De Gucht (in ENGLISH): What happened in Bangladesh just over 2 months ago is simply unacceptable. It is our duty to change this situation and to change it quickly. EU lawmakers and European consumers expect reassurances that Bangladesh is moving in the right direction. Today's "Compact" is a key step and we expect the Bangladesh government to continue working closely with ILO, industry and trade unions to improve the day-to-day life for workers. The first true test of Bangladesh's commitment will of course be the adoption by its Parliament of a revised Labour Law at the end of this week or early next week. The objective is to beef up crucial aspects of the Labour Law - notably freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining as well as improved occupational safety and health. I expect this revised Labour Law to apply to all workers, including those in Export Processing Zones. It is essential that the workers in such zones enjoy the same rights and working conditions as workers in other parts of Bangladesh.
||Soundbite by Dipu Moni (in ENGLISH): Through this Compact, we have come to an agreement doing things all of us, doing our own bit so that we can have a sustainable RNG industry in Bangladesh. The issue of pricing is very important to us because the sustainability of any industry, especially labour-intensive industry like RNG, must address the pricing of products relating to global supply chains.
||Soundbite by Guy Ryder (in ENGLISH) saying that the ILO was on the ground in Bangladesh one week after the disaster. On that occasion, they were able to conclude a tri-partite agreement between the government, employers and workers of Bangladesh on a national action plan based on labour law reform, labour inspection, and building and fire safety. They are building on the same pillars in this Compact. They are vey pleased to be supportive of those objectives. The ILO is giving technical support to the code on firing building safety in Bangladesh.
||Dipu Moni, Karel De Gucht, and Guy Ryder leaving the press conference