Since the launch of the initiative, the Compact has contributed to tangible improvements in workplace safety. However, respect of workers' rights remains a challenging area, with a particular urgency as regards freedom of association, says the report.
While some improvements can be noted, sizeable efforts still need to be made to ensure that real change takes place and is sustained over the long term, according to the report.
As regards to legislative improvements, the EU expects in particular further development of labour-related legislation and enforcement of the existing rules, in full compliance with the fundamental rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, as defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
“Those rights should be granted to all workers without exception, including to those in the export processing zones,” states the report. “Room for improvement also exists as regards registration procedures for new workers' unions, which should ensure expeditious and non-arbitrary processing of applications.”
On administrative aspects, the report points at the need for a new strategy for safety inspections and remediation, ensuring effective coordination between key Bangladeshi regulators with competences in that area. The EU also calls for further reinforcement of administrative capacities through recruitment and training of inspectors and for a full transparency as regards the outcomes of factory inspections.
Further to that, the EU report underlines the need for continuous education, training and capacity building on issues such as labour rights, and occupational safety and health.
The report, together with recommendations addressed to the authorities of Bangladesh, also formulates the wish for a strong longer-term engagement of international private companies involved in business operations in Bangladesh, which have been key in bringing progress on the ground over the last years. (RKS)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India
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