The Netherlands and Germany will be working closely together to improve labour conditions and wages for millions of textile workers in Asia, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
Last week, Lilianne Ploumen, Netherlands Minster for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation met her German counterpart, the newly appointed Gerd Müller in Berlin and agreed to join forces on this issue.
Both Ministers support a broad-based approach for the textile industry and they also see an important role for the International Labour Organization (ILO), said the statement.
“Progress can be made by working with the European fashion industry and the governments, employers and unions in the countries concerned,” the Ministers said.
The new approach in Bangladesh, put in place after the last year’s Rana Plaza disaster that resulted in the death of 1,100 textile workers, can serve as an example of how improvements can be made. Thanks in part to a Dutch initiative, work is now under way to make factories safer through regular, independent inspections.
“It’s vital that social and environmental standards improve in manufacturing countries in Asia,” Mr Müller said and added that “An important factor in this will be changing our own consumers’ behaviour.”
Pleased with the support for her policies, Ms. Ploumen said, “By working with my German colleague, we can enhance the impact of our plans to improve the working conditions of millions of people.”
The Netherlands and Germany have worked together on this issue earlier and in December 2013, they held a joint conference called ‘Living Wages’ in Berlin, in which major fashion chains like H&M participated.