Bangladesh: Little Progress on Sustainability Compact

Five years have elapsed since the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza building followed by immediate commitments to improve both fire and building safety as well as fundamental labour rights under the Sustainability Compact signed by the ILO, the EU, the United States and the Government of Bangladesh (later joined by Canada).

This week the partners of the Sustainability Compact are meeting for a fourth time to follow-up on the progress made.

However, there is little progress to report. The ILO supervisory bodies continue to express serious concern over the lack of respect for the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining as well as the persistent violence and discrimination against workers. Moreover, the continuation of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, which had been assuring the safety of garment factories for the past five years, is now facing serious opposition from the Government of Bangladesh.

The ITUC is calling on the European Commission to hold the Government of Bangladesh to account for its failure to comply with the labour conditionality of the EU GSP Everything but Arms scheme by initiating an investigation. Moreover, the partners of the Sustainability Compact should make it clear that the Accord on Fire and Building Safety must continue to operate until such time as a national regulatory body is fully ready to take over its operations, in order to prevent any further deaths and injuries of workers.