Pope condemns Bangladesh 'slave labour' conditions

The pope has condemned as "slave labour" the working conditions of the Bangladesh garment workers who died in last week's factory collapse.

International DeskInternational deskbdnews24.com
Published : 1 May 2013, 01:02 PM
Updated : 1 May 2013, 01:02 PM

As Bangladeshi workers took the streets to demand better working conditions and the official death toll rose to more than 400 people in the collapse of the Rana Plaza building near the capital, Dhaka, the Pope said, he had been shocked by reports that some of the labourers had been paid just 38 euros ($50) a month.

“This is called slave labour!” the pope was quoted by Vatican radio as saying in his homily at a private mass in his residence to mark May Day.

“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,” the pope said at the mass.

“How many brothers and sisters find themselves in this situation!” he said, as protesters in May Day demonstrations around the world rallied against unfair work conditions and unemployment.

“Not paying fairly, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking at how to make a profit. That goes against God!” the pope said in his strongly-worded address. He was quoted as saying by Vatican radio.

The Argentine pope, formerly the archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Bergoglio, became a powerful voice on the side of the poor during his homeland’s devastating economic crisis.

Since being elected pontiff in March, he has repeatedly called for the Roman Catholic Church to be closer to the needy and has said he wants “a poor Church for the poor”.

The 76-year-old later spoke to thousands of followers in St Peter’s Square, urging politicians to fight unemployment and calling for greater “social justice” against “selfish profit”.

“I call on politicians to make every effort to relaunch the labour market,” he said in his traditional weekly address.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher