International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) observed the US decision of suspending Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for Bangladesh as an important step towards workers’ rights.
“This long-awaited decision is an important step for workers’ rights,” explained ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.
“It sends a strong statement to all governments and employers that violation of the fundamental rights of workers will not be tolerated if a country expects to participate in the global economy.”
The ITUC also calls on international brands sourcing from Bangladesh to step up their efforts to ensure that the rights of workers in their supply chains are fully respected.
The demands placed on companies in Bangladesh by international buyers are partly responsible for perpetuating the gruelling sweatshop conditions prevailing in the country, it said.
The ITUC was backing calls by the AFL-CIO and the Bangladesh union movement in calling on the government of Bangladesh to act urgently and deliberately to ensure that the rights of its workers are respected in law and in practice.
Filed in 2007, a complaint from the AFL-CIO called on the US to suspend trade preferences to Bangladesh under the GSP, unless the government took steps to ensure the rights of workers, including in the country’s massive ready-made garment sector and the Export Processing Zones, where workers are banned by law from forming a union.
Since then, the situation for workers has only continued to deteriorate, resulting in the death of about 1,131 in the Rana Plaza disaster earlier this year, it observed.