Europe debates Bangladesh's labour standards today
The European Parliament will ask Bangladesh to establish an efficient and impartial labour safety inspection system when it begins its discussion on the country's garment sector today.
It will also urge the authorities to allow trade unions at the factory level, in accordance with the International Labour Organisation conventions.
The talking points -- already posted on European Parliament's website -- for the plenary session also include the pay structure, labour rights and corporate social responsibility in Bangladesh.
The move comes in the wake of a deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions that killed at least 112 workers in November last year.
The parliamentarians acknowledge that employment in the garment sector has helped millions of poor rural women in Bangladesh and elsewhere to escape deprivation and dependence on male support.
They, however, consider that certain minimum safety and labour standards should be the norm worldwide, including the European Union (EU).
The parliament will call on all European retailers whose orders were being processed at the time of the fire to support the local authorities and involve social partners in setting up an adequate and transparent compensation scheme.
It would also ask all sourcing brands to make all audit reports available to the public.
Furthermore, it intends to urge all parties in the cotton sector to reduce pollution to an absolute minimum, on the grounds that non-sustainable means of production undermine the future of cotton production.
A rise in minimum wages, which for many workers is below the substance level, forms part of the improvements required by the EU from Bangladesh.
The body, however, welcomed the government's initiative to establish an independent inspection system and actively support the creation of health and safety committees.
The parliament will send the resolutions upon finalisation to the Bangladesh government for implementation.
At present, Europe is Bangladesh's largest export destination, buying 60 percent of the country's garment products.