Bangladesh needs to step up its efforts to prevent the exploitation of textile workers, members of European Parliament (MEP) said in a resolution adopted on Wednesday.The government must live up to its pledges to ensure labour rights to continue getting trade privileges under Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme, said the MEPs.“Textile workers in Bangladesh, many of whom are young women, suffer long working hours, low wages, uncertainty and hazardous conditions. Trade union leaders are often persecuted,” said a press release issued by the parliament yesterday.The 2013 Sustainability Compact, aimed at preventing tragedies like the April 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, has resulted in moderate improvements in workplace safety, but respect of workers’ rights is lagging behind, the MEPs note in a non-binding resolution adopted by a show of hands.Reviewing the implementation of the 2013 Compact, MEPs suggest a series of measures including amendment to the 2013 Labour Act so as to ensure freedom of association, collective bargaining and to recruit more factory inspectors.They also suggested the mandate of the “ACCORD”, a platform including EU companies that help to implement the Compact, be renewed after its expiry of May 2018 and international brands take their CSR policy more seriously to ensure decent working conditions and the EU Commission table an EU-wide legislative initiative on the garment sector for a due diligence systemChair of the international trade (INTA) Committee, Bernd Lange (S&D, DE) said, “Despite some progress in recent years, the situation on the ground remains worrisome. We are very concerned about the lack of meaningful progress in implementing the commitments of the Sustainability Compact by Bangladesh.”“Countries, which disrespect fundamental rights at work, should not be encouraged by benefitting from unrestricted access to our market. The government of Bangladesh will need to demonstrate that it is willing and able to deliver on its own promises and the demands of the international community,” said Lange. Standing rapporteur for South Asia, Sajjad Karim (ECR, UK) said, “EU trade policy is our soft power. But it’s very powerful and based on values, meaning we demand our trading partners respect core principles in the areas of human, labour and environmental rights.”“I have done all I can as Chair of the INTA Monitoring Group for South Asia to get Bangladesh to comply. It seems they are not listening. We cannot keep issuing appeals and statements every year – we have to see tangible results on the ground for privileged market access to be continued,” he said.