European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has called for “immediate” action by the Bangladesh government to improve health and safety conditions in the nation’s garment industry after a factory collapse last month killed more than 500 people.
The government of Bangladesh must “change something,” De Gucht said on Sunday on RTBF radio.
“Otherwise I am ready to launch an investigation, which may lead to the suspension” of Bangladesh’s trade status with the EU, he said.
“If the result of this is that the price of T-shirts and jeans increases a bit, well that’s the way it is,” De Gucht said.
“These people have the right to work in acceptable conditions, and we have a duty to push for that.”
De Gucht said he intends to discuss with EU and US buyers of Bangladesh products the development of a “code of conduct” for their supply chains.
Workers in Bangladesh face “totally unacceptable health and safety conditions: this is modern slavery,” De Gucht said.