Rushanara Ali MP calls for ‘urgent’ action to protect workers in Bangladesh‏

Rushanara Ali

Rushanara Ali - Credit: Archant

Rushanara Ali MP has called for urgent action to improve the conditions of workers in Bangladesh who make clothes sold in the UK after a series of deadly accidents in the country.

Ms Ali, appearing on BBC Radio Five Live recently said clothes should have a “kite mark” to let shoppers know they have been made safely and fairly.

Speaking after the interview, Ms Ali said: “Urgent action is needed to address labour conditions in the garments industry.

“This is crucial to prevent the future loss of life and investment.”

Her call comes after more than 1,000 people died in the Rana Plaza factory collapse near the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka in April.

Primark and other stores that bought clothes from the factory said in October they would pay long-term compensation to the victims and their families, but critics say they should do more to prevent future accidents.

Ms Ali said Western companies must “drive up standards through their purchasing practices” and work with governments in developing countries to improve conditions for workers.

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She said: “The regulation of buildings and the infrastructure capacity of Bangladesh and other countries where similar tragedies have occurred must be improved as a matter of urgency.”

Ms Ali added that the UK government has a key role to play, by putting pressure on the governments of Bangladesh and other countries to improve standards and ensure the safety of its workers.

Nearly 800 people were injured in unreported fires in garment and textile factories in Bangladesh over the last year, according to a report by the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity released in December.