Motion for a resolution - B7-0230/2013Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on labour conditions and health and safety standards following the recent factory fires and building collapse in Bangladesh

20.5.2013 - (2013/2638(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission
pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Charles Tannock on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0223/2013

Procedure : 2013/2638(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on labour conditions and health and safety standards following the recent factory fires and building collapse in Bangladesh


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Bangladesh, in particular that of 17 January 2013[1],

–   having regard to the EC-Bangladesh Cooperation Agreement of 2001,

–   having regard to the joint statement of 30 April 2013 by VP/HR Catherine Ashton and Karel de Gucht, the Commissioner for trade,

–   having regard to the statements issued by the ILO following the Rana Plaza building collapse, and in particular to the conclusions of the ILO’s high-level mission to Bangladesh,

–   having regard to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh,

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

A. whereas on 24 April 2013 the eight-storey Rana Plaza building, located in Savar, near Dhaka, collapsed leaving at least 1 127 people dead, with dozens still missing, and approximately 2 500 people injured;

B.  whereas the Rana Plaza building collapse is Bangladesh’s worst-ever industrial disaster and the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern history;

C. whereas the building had been evacuated the previous day when large cracks had appeared in the walls; whereas on the morning of the collapse workers were reluctant to enter the premises, but were reportedly told by their supervisors that the building was safe or were threatened with losing their jobs;

D. whereas the Rana Plaza building collapse is the latest in a long list of factory building tragedies in Bangladesh, including the Tazreen factory fire in November 2012, in which over 110 people died;

E.  whereas there are more than 5 000 textile factories in Bangladesh, employing approximately 4 million people; whereas the European market is the largest export destination for Bangladeshi apparel and textile products;

F.  whereas several dozen international clothing brands have undersigned the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, covering more than 1 000 supplier factories; whereas the accord includes provisions for a credible inspections regime, remediation, a fire and building safety training programme, a complaints process and financial support clauses; whereas it entered into force on 16 May 2013;

G. whereas the EU is currently giving support to the Bangladesh Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in their efforts to ensure compliance audits of factories and train labour inspectors and factory compliance auditors;

H. whereas other countries with large garment-exporting industries have seen factory accidents as well, most notably Pakistan, where hundreds of people died in textile factory fires in 2012;

1.  Is shocked and saddened by the Rana Plaza building collapse, the sheer size of the tragedy and the death and destruction it caused; expresses its condolences to the bereaved families and to those injured;

2.  Reiterates its deep and growing concern over the recurring phenomenon of textile factory accidents in Bangladesh and elsewhere and the widely-reported hazardous working conditions in the garment sector;

3.  Calls on the Government of Bangladesh to continue its investigations into the causes of the collapse, to make sure the investigations are independent and transparent, and to prosecute those found responsible; calls furthermore on the Government of Bangladesh to expand and upgrade its system of labour inspections;

4.  Notes the approval by the Bangladesh Cabinet on 13 May 2013 of the Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Act-2013, which will allow the country’s garment workers to form trade unions without prior permission from factory owners, and also includes provisions on group insurance and factory health services; urges the Bangladesh Parliament to adopt this amendment without delay at its forthcoming session;

5.  Welcomes the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, and urges the signatories and other parties involved to implement its measures, including but not limited to: appointment of a qualified Safety Inspector; a swift initial inspection of each factory covered by the accord; the right of a worker to refuse work that he or she has reasonable justification to believe is unsafe, without suffering discrimination or loss of pay; and establishment of health and safety committees in all signatory factories; urges the signatories, furthermore, to develop and agree an implementation plan within 45 days of the entry into force of the accord;

6.  Applauds the public commitments made by various garment brands to compensate the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse and their relatives; encourages the garment brands to base their calculations on ILO standards and to ensure that compensation reaches all affected workers;

7.  Calls on all factory owners in Bangladesh, including those not covered by the accord, to take all measures necessary to review the safety procedures in place at their factories and to carry out checks on the buildings, including with regard to electrical and structural safety and with immediate effect;

8.  Calls on all European and global garment brands to critically investigate their supply chains and to cooperate with their subcontractors in order to improve occupational health and safety standards;

9.  Urges all stakeholders to combat corruption in the supply chain, which can lead to life-threatening circumstances such as those caused by falsified or unlawfully obtained safety certificates;

10. Calls on the governments of countries with large garment manufacturing and exporting industries, including Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Cambodia, to undertake all necessary measures to prevent further textile factory accidents from happening; urges the authorities of textile-manufacturing countries to respect freedom of association and freedom of expression; urges those countries, furthermore, to sign, ratify and implement the eight core ILO conventions;

11. Welcomes Bangladesh’s successful efforts to reduce child labour in the garment sector, and urges other countries, notably Pakistan, to step up their commitment to act against child labour;

12. Welcomes the support being given by the Commission to the Bangladesh Ministry of Labour and Employment and the BGMEA; calls for such cooperation to be strengthened and expanded to other countries in the region, as appropriate;

13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government, Parliament and Ministry of Home Affairs of Bangladesh, the Governments and Parliaments of Pakistan, India and Cambodia, the Government and People’s Congress of China, the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Director-General of the ILO.