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Pope deems B'desh garment workers' conditions "slave labour"

Publication Date : 03-05-2013


The pope has condemned as “slave labour” the working conditions of the Bangladesh garment workers who died in last week’s Savar factory collapse in Dhaka.

As workers took the streets to demand better working conditions and the official death toll rose to more than 400, Pope Francis said he was shocked by a headline from saying some of the workers were living on 38 euros (US$49.92) a month.

“This was the payment of these people who have died … And this is called ‘slave labour’,” he said during a private mass on Wednesday at the Vatican, the Guardian reports.

“Today in the world this slavery is being committed against something beautiful that God has given us - the capacity to create, to work, to have dignity.

“Not paying a fair wage, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking to make a profit - that goes against God,” he was quoted as saying by Vatican radio, BBC adds.

Five garment factories were housed in the illegally constructed, nine-storey Rana Plaza that collapsed in Savar, a Dhaka suburb. Five months after a fire killed 112 people at another clothing factory, the collapse again highlighted safety problems in the country’s $20billion-a-year garment industry, which supplies retailers around the world.


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