Procedure : 2012/2908(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0021/2013

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 16/01/2013 - 14
CRE 16/01/2013 - 14

Votes :

PV 17/01/2013 - 12.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0004/2013

to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and the Commission

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on recent casualties in textile factory fires, notably in Bangladesh (2012/2908(RSP))

Véronique De Keyser, Bernd Lange, Vital Moreira, Jutta Steinruck, Alejandro Cercas, Pervenche Berès, Richard Howitt, Stephen Hughes on behalf of the S&D Group

European Parliament resolution on recent casualties in textile factory fires, notably in Bangladesh (2012/2908(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 25 November 2010 on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements(1) and on corporate social responsibility in international trade agreements(2),

–   having regard to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) report ‘Globalising Social Rights: The International Labour Organisation and beyond’,

–   having regard to the ILO report ‘Labour in the Global South: Challenges and alternatives for workers’,

–   having regard to the ILO report ‘Globalisation, Flexibilisation and Working Conditions in Asia and the Pacific’,

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 March 2011 on an industrial policy for the globalised era(3),

–   having regard to the European Parliament report on information and consultation of workers, anticipation and management of restructuring (A7-0390/2012),

–   having regard to the updated OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises of 2011,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas at least 112 people died at the Tazreen factory fire, in the Ashulia district, Dhaka, Bangladesh on 24 November 2012 and 289 people perished in a blaze in Karachi, Pakistan in September 2012;

B.  whereas initial enquiries into the Tazreen blaze heard how factory managers prevented workers from escaping, and recommended action against the factory owner for negligence;

C. whereas there are approximately 4 000 textile factories in Bangladesh, employing more than two million people, with Bangladesh being the world’s second largest exporter of ready-made clothes, next only to China;

D. whereas the European market is the largest export destination for Bangladeshi apparel and textile products, with prominent western companies admitting they had contracts with the owners of the Tazreen factory for the supply of garments;

E.  whereas rising labour costs in other parts of the world have pushed low-skilled manufacturing jobs into India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam and, in particular, Bangladesh, where clothes now make up 75 % of exports;

F.  whereas the chain of intermediaries from the high street to the worker is often non‑transparent and does not provide a chain of accountability, with large orders of garments and textiles being subcontracted to multiple manufacturers;

G. whereas many owners of such factories have gone unpunished and therefore have done little to improve working conditions;

H. whereas there is a trend in Europe towards outsourcing by companies seeking lower costs, often leading to subcontracting chains with few or no health and safety controls;

1.  Expresses its sorrow at the loss of life suffered in the recent factory fires; extends its condolences to the bereaved families and those injured; regards as wholly unacceptable the number of workers who have perished in factory fires in recent years in South Asia;

2.  Calls on the governments of Bangladesh and Pakistan to continue with thorough investigations into the recent events and to bring those responsible for criminal activity to justice; expects these authorities to put in place measures to prevent a recurrence of the tragedies; calls on the Commission to work with local authorities, the ILO and all stakeholders in textile production supply chains to improve working conditions;

3.  Calls on the Commission actively to promote mandatory responsible business conduct amongst EU companies operating abroad, with special focus on ensuring strict compliance with all their legal obligations, in particular with international standards and rules in the areas of human rights, labour and the environment;

4.  Recalls the need for consistent implementation of the ILO’s eight core conventions; underlines the importance of robust health and safety provisions for workers, no matter in which country their workplace is located;

5.  Calls for a system of transnational legal cooperation to be set up between the EU and third‑country signatories to bilateral trade agreements to ensure that victims of breaches of social or environmental legislation, or of failures to honour corporate social responsibility (CSR) undertakings or fair exchange practices by multinationals and their immediate subsidiaries, have effective access to justice in the country where the breach took place, and in support of the establishment of international judicial procedures to ensure, where necessary, that breaches of the law by companies are punished;

6.  Calls on the EEAS to ensure that EU trade officers, if based in EU embassies, are given regular training on CSR issues, in particular with respect to the implementation of the UN ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework, and that EU embassies function as EU contact points for complaints concerning EU companies and their subsidiaries, since OECD National Contact Points exist only in OECD countries and, in practice, are therefore not accessible to employees of such companies based in non-OECD countries;

7.  Calls for full and active consultation and involvement of representative organisations, including free and independent trade unions, in the development, operation and monitoring of companies’ CSR processes and structures; calls on such representative organisations to work with employers to promote quality employment and decent working conditions;

8.  Calls on its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the High Representative / Vice‑President of the European Commission, and the governments and parliaments of Pakistan and Bangladesh.


OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 31.


OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 101.


OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 131.

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