Progress booked after one year of ILO-EU-Bangladesh Compact on safety in garment factories

A year ago, the ILO, the EU, Bangladesh and the United States signed a Compact to improve labour rights in the garment industry of Bangladesh.

News | 09 July 2014
A year ago, following the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, the ILO, the European Union, the government of Bangladesh and the United States joined forces and launched a "Sustainability Compact" to improve labour rights, working conditions and factory safety in the ready-made garment industry of Bangladesh.

The compact, an initiative of the EU, was signed on 8 July 2013. Its main objective is to avert another tragedy like the Rana Plaza factory collapse – in which 1 129 garment workers died – through a more responsible supply chain management.

On the occasion of the first anniversary of the Compact, the European Commission published a report on the progress made so far in the area of labour rights and working conditions in the ready-made garment and knitwear industry of Bangladesh. It outlines the steps that still need to be taken and that will be further elaborated during a stocktaking event in Brussels next October.

After the tragedy, the ILO organized a high-level mission to Dhaka, which agreed on immediate and medium term actions to be implemented by the Government of Bangladesh as well as employers’ and workers’ organizations. In parallel, ILO technical assistance to the Bangladeshi garment sector has significantly increased since April 2013. The ILO also acts as a neutral chair and facilitator to the Accord on building and fire safety, an agreement between two global unions and the retailers of the industry.

In a joint statement, European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, and Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, welcomed the serious commitment to deliver marked progress. They also urged the government of Bangladesh to complete the labour law reform, the training and recruitment of labour inspectors and to create the conditions for meaningful freedom of association in the country.