Bangladesh Gets a Failing Grade on Sustainability Compact

On 8 July 2013, in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza disaster, the ILO, EU and Bangladesh agreed to a Sustainability Compact, a detailed plan under which Bangladesh committed to make a number of sweeping reforms on protection of rights, fire and building safety, and corporate responsibility.

Since then, other governments have lent their support to the Compact. Despite the global horror at the tragedy, and the resources invested now in Bangladesh to address these problems, the government of Bangladesh has made very little progress in meeting the terms of the Compact.

“We are appalled that the Government of Bangladesh has done so little, given that nearly 4 million workers depend on the government to effectively implement this plan. Given the lack of progress, the next industrial disaster is only a matter of time,” explained Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). “Worse, the Commerce Minister has personally threatened to retaliate against unions in Bangladesh that have pointed out the government’s failure to protect workers’ rights.”

The International Trade Union Confederation, IndustriALL and UNI Global Union have just released an evaluation of the implementation of the Sustainability Compact. The unions find that Bangladesh has clearly failed to address the majority of the issues in the Compact.