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EU rules needed to curb textile worker exploitation: MEPs
Apr '17
European Union (EU) rules are needed to oblige textile and clothing suppliers to respect workers’ rights, said the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) in a resolution. Textile workers around the world, many of whom are young women and children, suffer long working hours, low wages, uncertainty, violence and hazardous conditions, noted the MEPs.

In an effort to push the 'flagship initiative' aimed at preventing tragedies like the April 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, MEPs suggested a series of measures. The EU Commission should table a legislative proposal for a binding due diligence system, based on OECD guidelines and similar to those for the so-called blood minerals, that covers the whole supply chain.

The EU should ensure that textile exporting countries with preferential access to the EU market comply with obligations and produce sustainable textiles, while member states should promote workers' rights in their relations with partner countries. The members also suggested making the 'social impact of production' visible on clothes that can help bring about lasting change, and helping EU institutions to set a good example in their public procurement of textiles.

"We cannot turn a blind eye, if our clothes are made at the cost of vast human suffering. Only binding rules could guarantee that products sold on European markets do not violate the dignity and the rights of millions of workers. The EU has the means to act and we ask the Commission to do so.” said rapporteur Lola Sánchez Caldentey (GUE/NGL, ES).

The resolution was adopted by 505 votes against 49 with 57 abstentions. (KD)

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