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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hunt for cheap garments leads to workers' plight

German envoy stresses safety

German Ambassador Albrecht Conze yesterday blamed the sufferings of readymade garment workers partly on the international buyers' tendency to get products at excessively cheap rates.

The German media covered the fire tragedy at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia extensively, he said. “Our first criticism in Germany is against ourselves.”

“First culprits are the German customers who want a pair of jeans for 5 euros, which is Tk 500. You cannot have a pair of jeans without someone suffering down the line, some workers in bad condition," Conze said quoting the German media.

The ambassador spoke at a press meet organised by the German embassy on the occasion of the envoy's visit to the port city at Agrabad Hotel.

Local exporters want to capture the international market by offering products of low prices, he said.

He also urged everyone engaged in export and import activities in Bangladesh to ensure safety of garments workers as a social responsibility.

He said the Ashulia tragedy is not only a local problem, but also an international issue now, as many countries import readymade garments from Bangladesh. He condoled the deaths of Ashulia fire and Bahaddarhat flyover collapse.

Millions of young girls work in the garment sector in Bangladesh, which is a good example, he said. "But it is not sufficient to only employ them, it is also necessary to ensure their safety."

He also urged to ensure proper wages for garments workers. He said trade unions that raise workers' concerns are very vocal in the textile sector but not in the garment sector.

Germany would participate in setting up a deep-sea port in Chittagong, if Bangladesh agrees, Conze said.

While talking to the City Mayor M Manjur Alam, the envoy also offered to set up a metro rail in the port city.

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