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Europeans want action on Rana Plaza

EU countries say garment companies who used to source from the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh should fund compensation to victims of the building’s collapse one year ago. The message came from France, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Denmark, Italy, and Spain. They feel it's the joint responsibility of companies sourcing from Rana Plaza, the Bangladeshi government and employers to donate. Companies which don’t have sourcing links to Rana Plaza are also invited to contribute.

One area that’s of concern is that of Bangladesh workers' freedom of association, allowing them to join unions that have developed in the industry, and ensuring the protection of trade union activists. Another is ensuring that while Bangladesh is in a transitional period, and working conditions have improved, factory repairs are continued while also ensuring the industry does not lose orders.

The country’s apparel industry is important for employment, industrialisation, poverty elevation, and empowering less privileged women. However, local manufacturers say they have great responsibilities towards their workers but their ability to offer a decent living and safe working condition is constrained by the prices they get. Brands and buyers insist on the highest standards but offer the lowest prices.

After Rana Plaza, especially, the industry placed too much emphasis on audits and certifications rather than fixing situations.