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Workers in Bangladesh deserve better


23 May 2013


Global Europe
Social Europe & Jobs

GUE/NGL MEPs lambaste deadly consequences of global capitalism

Five GUE/NGL MEPs spoke up for the rights of workers today in a plenary debate on recent tragic events in Bangladesh factories.

"We seldom see all political groups adopt a resolution almost unanimously but we have all been shaken by these events," commented Helmut Scholz (Germany). "We in Europe are partly to blame because of our consumer behaviour, which puts a high cost pressure on suppliers. We are also to blame through the way we define trade relations. Human rights and workers' rights and environmental protection criteria should be prerequisites for the importation of goods. We can't let unscrupulous businesses off the hook any longer."

Patrick Le Hyaric (France) said: "We have destroyed the textile industry in Europe in order to go and exploit workers in Bangladesh. Our condolences are not enough. We must not turn our back on this. We must reconfigure our trade policy and think of new forms of co-operation. We must support these workers to become members of trade unions."

"European capital is to blame in a corrupt inhumane system based on tax havens and deregulation," said Willy Meyer (Spain). "There is no compassion here; capital looks for its profit at any price."

João Ferreira (Portugal) commented: "Bangladesh is the second biggest textile producer in the world and almost 90% of its produce comes to Europe. It is not acceptable that people are paid miserable wages without even the most basic working conditions. There are questions we can't stop asking. What measures is the EU going to take against companies that profit from these conditions?"

Georgios Toussas (Greece) cited International Labor Organization (ILO) data that shows a worker loses his/her life because of dangerous working conditions every 3.5 minutes. He added: "Only organised struggle in the workplace can overthrow this rotten capitalist system."


GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group