Phil Bennion has called on both the Bangladesh government and European clothing retailers to take 'exceptional measures' to improve factory safety standards in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster, which killed over 380 workers in Dhaka.
The West Midlands MEP, an active member of the Parliament's South Asia delegation, said:
"I must express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the hundreds of workers who tragically lost their lives in the factory collapse. It now seems unlikely any more survivors will be found.
"This disaster is not a situation that can be tolerated. Every friend of Bangladesh around the world is horrified.
"I call on the Government of Bangladesh to launch a thorough investigation. If the building was known to be unsafe, if there is a case to answer of criminality or negligence as seems clear, those responsible must be brought to justice.
"As a co-sponsor of an urgency resolution adopted last January in the European Parliament following other terrible fires in Bangladesh, I had already urged the Government of Bangladesh to do much more to fight the endemic corruption of the inspection system and to take serious steps to tackle the lack of basic fire safety standards in factories.
"This disaster underlines the urgency of the situation. I also reiterate my calls on all European retailers who buy garments from Bangladesh to redouble their efforts to ensure that safety standards and workers rights are observed by their suppliers, including the rights of association that would allow Trade Unions in Bangladesh to contribute to ensuring proper safety standards.
"It is now time for the European Union to further increase pressure on retailers and on the Bangladesh Government for meaningful steps to improve factory safety rules and they way they are enforced. This is surely the time for exceptional measures.
"I am not calling today for an embargo on trade, but we do need to see words followed by deeds - and we need to explore the consequences if nothing happens. The Bangladesh government must enforce safety rules in factories so workers can work without fear of losing their life."