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Social and environmental standards

Bangladesh Labour Minister visits BMZ


Federal Minister Gerd Müller (on the right) and State Secretary Friedrich Kitschelt (on the left) welcome Muhammad Mujibul Haque Chunnu, State Minister of the Bangladesh Ministry of Labour and Employment.

16.06.2014 |

Bonn – Today, Federal Minister Gerd Müller and State Secretary Friedrich Kitschelt welcomed Muhammad Mujibul Haque Chunnu, State Minister of the Bangladesh Ministry of Labour and Employment, to the BMZ. Their meeting was centred mainly on social and en­vi­ron­ment­al stan­dards in the textile industry.

"One year on from the Rana Plaza disaster too little has happened," said Minister Müller. "Too many companies have not yet paid into the victim support fund. We will continue to exert pressure so as to ensure that help reaches the people in Bangladesh who are still suffering from the con­se­quen­ces of the factory collapse."  The Minister emphasised that Germany will support Bangladesh as a production site as it is aware of how im­por­tant the textile sector is for the country's labour market. However, working and wage conditions will have to be improved and social and en­vi­ron­ment­al standards met. These are also the objectives of the alliance for the textile sector that the BMZ has initiated. Since the end of April, a round table bringing together rep­re­sen­ta­tives from business, trade unions and civil society has been working on proposals to enhance trans­pa­ren­cy and sus­tain­a­bi­li­ty in the textile and garment industry.  

"The gov­ern­ment in Bangladesh has taken im­por­tant steps following the terrible factory accidents," said State Secretary Kitschelt. "A new labour law has been enacted and the minimum monthly wage for the textile sector has been increased to roughly 50 euros. Other, more far-reaching changes must now follow; and legal provisions need to be implemented systematically."

In early 2013, the Bangladesh gov­ern­ment had announced the recruitment of 200 labour inspectors for factory monitoring. However, not even half that number have been recruited so far. Germany is helping to train the inspectors who have been hired to date and to provide them with motor cycles. Minister Müller called on the Bangladesh gov­ern­ment to honour its commitment by recruiting an adequate number of inspectors and employing them long-term.

Between 2012 and 2013, Germany committed a total of 113.8 million euros to Bangladesh. Co­op­er­a­tion between the two coun­tries is currently centred on three priority areas: re­new­able energy and energy efficiency; good gov­er­nance, the rule of law and human rights; and climate change adap­ta­tion in urban areas. Following the Rana Plaza factory incident, Germany im­me­diate­ly provided medical and practical as­sis­tance. An ad­di­tion­al 2.5 million euros were made avail­able to provide vo­ca­tion­al training suited to people with dis­abi­li­ties. Victims of the factory collapse, in particular, are benefiting from this measure. These ad­di­tion­al funds have been made available as part of the project promoting social and en­vi­ron­ment­al standards in the textile industry that was started in 2010. Funding is to be com­mit­ted for a follow-up project at the gov­ern­ment ne­go­ti­a­tions between Germany and Bangladesh in autumn 2014.

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