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Archbishop of Dhaka: More justice needed for exploited workers

(Vatican Radio) The collapse of the factory building near Dhaka has swung the spotlight on the poor and often dangerous working conditions facing employees in Bangladesh’s garment industry. The Catholic Archbishop of Dhaka, Patrick D’Rozario spoke to Susy Hodges about the lessons that should be drawn from this tragedy:

Listen to the extended interview with Archbishop D’Rozario: RealAudioMP3

Referring to the building collapse, Archbishop D’Rozario says “the whole country is shocked” but says he prays that “a big lesson” can be drawn from this tragedy. He says endemic corruption is a contributing factor with up “over 90% of buildings” in Bangladesh not built according to the official construction regulations.

Another problem, the Archbishop says, is the desire of the overseas clothing companies who want “cheap labour” but who often don’t realize the poor and dangerous working conditions facing those who work for these garment factories. “They don’t see whether they are treated humanely,” he says. Archbishop D’Rozario says “justice is needed for these workers” and suggests that the factory owners, the overseas clothing companies and the Bangladeshi government should all work together to improve conditions for the labourers. He believes that the international community in particular can help apply pressure for better working conditions and that these companies should not just be always looking to secure the “highest profits.” “They must also pay for the work” and for safer working conditions, he says.


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