Rosa blogged last week about how the Dhaka textile factory collapse demonstrated the need for strong, independent unions in Bangladesh. Since then, there have been thousands of words printed and broadcast about the disaster and what caused it. A lot of the comments have been more or less anguished concerns that there is nothing we can do about the situation – or, indeed, attempts to blame heartless western bargain-hunters for the 382 deaths – so far – in Dhaka.
In fact, there’s a lot that we can do about what’s happened in Dhaka, even though the real action will be taken – is being taken, despite police brutality - by workers in Bangladesh, just as it was the action of workers in Britain and the USA that led to higher living standards and safer workplaces in our own countries.
You could protest about the companies in Britain and the USA who ultimately dictate the working conditions throughout their global supply chains and profit from them. You can back the call by unions in Bangladesh – textile unions that are part of the Global Union Federation IndustriALL - for stronger labour laws and freedom for trade unions. And, longer term, you can play your part in building union power around the world, persuading fellow workers and thus securing support from the politicians who seek their votes for Decent Work to become the norm rather than a dream.