On April 24, 2013, 1136 people died in the collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory in Bangladesh, including women and children. More than 2500 people were injured.
Just five months earlier, 112 people had died in a similar accident at a textile factory. Now, as the tragedy marks its tenth anniversary, many are wondering what lessons, if any, have been learned.Numerous efforts and various agreements on fire protection and building safety have so far failed to gain traction.
The average minimum wage in the textile industry remains so low that workers cannot live on it. Women in particular are affected by psychological and sexual abuse at their workplace, and child labor is also not uncommon in textile production.
MEP Delara Burkhardt advocates for sustainable and recyclable textiles and thus for more rights for workers in the textile industry in a new proposal for a law:
„10 years after Rana Plaza, we must not only admonish, but finally change. In the EU, we have closed our eyes for too long to the suffering our consumption and the constant ask for more, faster, and cheaper products means for the workers, on whose shoulders such exploitative business models weigh. The deadly collapse of the Rana Plaza factory is an example of what happens when profit is put before the safety and lives of people.“
„European fashion houses have a direct impact on local working conditions. I think it’s about time that they finally live up to their responsibility. That’s why I’m calling for a law that guarantees fair wages, a ban on child and forced labor, better working conditions and better protection against sexual harassment in the textile sector.“
The European Parliament’s Environment Committee will vote on the proposal on April 27.