News / Europe

EU Considers Action Over Bangladesh Factory Collapse

Protestors call for better working conditions for garment workers during a May Day rally in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Protestors call for better working conditions for garment workers during a May Day rally in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Selah Hennessy
The European Union may make changes to its trade agreement with Bangladesh after last week's factory collapse on the outskirts of Dhaka, which left more than 400 people dead.

The EU says it will take "appropriate action" to encourage improved working conditions in Bangladesh factories. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht made the comments in a joint statement late Tuesday.

“As Bangladesh’s largest trade partner, the European Union is very concerned about the labor conditions, including health and safety provisions, which are established for workers in factories across the country," said Sébastien Brabant, an Ashton spokesperson. 

The textiles industry in Bangladesh is valued at almost $20 billion a year. Europe is Bangladesh’s largest trade partner and 60 percent of its garments are sent to the continent.

The statement called on Bangladeshi authorities to ensure that the country’s factories comply with international labor standards. It said the EU will be considering “appropriate action,” including through the Generalized System of Preferences, which gives Bangladesh duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market.

"Europe wants to encourage improvements in Bangladesh," said Braband. “This is in order to incentivize responsible management of supply chains involving developing countries.”

The factory collapse isn't the only recent disaster in the industry. Last November, more than 100 people died in a fire at a factory in Dhaka.

According to a report published late last year by the Washington D.C.-based campaign group International Labor Rights Forum, more than 1,000 workers have died in Bangladesh in unsafe work environments since 1990.

While pushing Bangladeshi authorities to establish better safety measures, the EU also expects more from international companies, Brabant said.

“And at the same time, we continue to encourage European and international companies to promote better health and safety standards in garment factories in Bangladesh in line with internationally recognized Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines," he said.

Some Western brands were manufactured at the factory that collapsed. Britain's low-cost retailer Primark has offered to compensate victims.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid