how bangladesh garment industry traded workplace safety for jobs
The garment industry accounts for 80% of Bangladesh\'s exports and is the third largest garment exporter in the world.
The explosive growth of the business over the past 20 years has helped create more than 3.
There are 5 million garment jobs in the country, especially women like Abedin, who may not have held formal positions in the Bangladesh workforce until a generation ago.
Until recently, 24-year-old Abedin had his pockets sewn into his pants at a factory called Tazreen Fashions outside Dhaka.
By global standards, her wages are modest. -
About $55 per month, equivalent to the income of other garment workers in her country.
The money is vital to the survival of her family.
Her father, a rickshaw man, does not include food and other basic necessities on his income alone.
Their total income is enough to feed themselves and Abedin\'s mother.
But such opportunities are accompanied by high costs.
Abedin knows those who pay for it with their lives.
Abedin is out of work.
On last November, her factory was burned, killing 112 people.
She jumped up from the third floor and in the process her right leg and left hand were broken.
The young man who landed next to her died.
As supporters of global trade expansion quickly stressed, the sharp growth in Bangladesh\'s garment world has helped ease poverty in the country.
But in Abedin\'s case, prosperity has brought more gains than it has.
She said that after losing her job, she was paid $150 from her employer to pay back and severance pay, plus $1,200 from funds backed by Lifeng Ltd.
The retail giant has signed up to produce clothing in the factory that is doomed to collapse.
Three medical bills have been swallowed.
Her doctor told her that it would take her a year to recover before she wanted to work again.
In addition to other difficulties, she also knows that since more disasters have occurred in her own factory, more disasters will almost certainly occur in the future.
In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Abedin said: \"We want a safe place to work . \"
Even before the fire, \"the working conditions in my factory were poor.
We were abused and physically abused.
Last month, Bangladesh suffered the deadliest garment industry disaster in the world. -
A factory building in the Rana Square building in the suburbs of Dhaka collapsed.
The tragedy claimed the lives of more than 1,100 workers, giving global attention to a reality that Abedin and other workers said they were already very clear: garment Trade in Bangladesh is a dangerous business full of factory fires and other deadly disasters.
The industry has grown so rapidly that it has surpassed the government\'s ability to monitor and enforce workplace safety standards.
In fact, economic growth seems to be partly driven by the government\'s willingness to take a different path.
The unqualified working conditions faced by Abedin and other garment workers are a by-product of the success story of globalization.
Bangladesh has become one of the world\'s leading garment exporters, creating millions of jobs and providing housing, basic nutrition and education to some of the poorest people on Earth.
But this reform was designed by labor advocates in a way that attracted some of the world\'s cheapest and most deprived workers to foreign investors, a way that was portrayed as fundamentally exploited.
It turns out that Bangladesh is irresistible to international clothing brands and retailers who have found refuge from higher costs associated with stricter enforcement of health, safety and labor laws.
In fact, Bangladesh\'s factories were rarely regulated until the recent spate of industrial accidents was enough to make headlines in the US and Europe.
\"Bangladesh is possible, mainly because of its cheap labor force,\" said Mohammed jassuddin . \" His father launched one of Bangladesh\'s first modern clothing exports.
Our workers are hardworking and good at Labor.
\"When jassuddin\'s father, Mohammed rezzadin, delivered his first shipment to France in 1977, his efforts were attacked in a newspaper advising fashion --
The Paris striker will return the clothes to clothes.
The main businessmen in Bangladesh laughed at the idea that the country mainly produces clothing for Westerners.
But Reazuddin and a small number of factory owners benefit from cheap labor ---
Giasuddin recalled that the wages of factory floor workers at that time were about $2 a month-
And the support of the Bangladesh government.
Many other countries in Asia and Latin America have a large number of workers willing to spend very little money to work.
However, few countries have the same low wage levels as Bangladesh, and few pursue and nurture the garment industry with this strategic coherence.
In the 1980 s, the government re-emphasized economic growth through exports and foreign direct investment, in particular the establishment of export processing zones, as is now home to thousands of garment factories across the country.
The government also allowed the work.
Free import of raw materials for machinery and clothing.
\"The government and industry leaders make a judgment that they can compete in the global apparel industry,\" said former US president Michael Posner. S.
The Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor under President Obama.
\"Infrastructure is weak.
The government\'s enforcement of labor and safety laws is weak. -or non-
There are many places.
The purchasing model of big companies encourages them to produce things where they can be as cheap as possible.
\"The garment industry will bring the required jobs to the country, earning wages in the pockets of Bengali people, who survive through agriculture.
The farm was divided into history.
Smaller plots, and farmers themselves feel increasingly nervous about the rising cost of electricity and fertilizer.
Clothing work is considered an important source of income for the poor.
The biggest asset for factory owners is a large untapped workforce. -rural women.
For decades, women outside Muslim-majority cities have been allowed to work in informal indoor farming, which will only give their husbands a modest increase in their monthly income.
The new garment factory provides these women with formal job opportunities permitted by religion ---
A marginalized and disadvantaged class happens to have a long tradition of stitching and weaving. (
Muslin is likely to have originated in Dhaka hundreds of years ago and has been a coveted fabric in European countries. )
As there is no labor organization to compete with, workers who own these factories can pay very little wages, and there are only few concerns about strikes or protests over working conditions.
Even today, most of the management roles in the factory are held by men.
Women now account for the vast majority of first-line workers.
\"This is typical of a surplus of labor in rural areas,\" said Martha Chen, an expert on Bangladesh at Harvard Kennedy College.
\"You have a large group of women who have never done paid work, so they are willing to work for nada.
It has an extraordinary setting.
\"The end of such a rich low price offer
Wage labor, the rapid growth of clothing
Without another factor, production in Bangladesh over the past decade is not possible: the removal of a complex trading quota system actually limits how much clothing any developing country exports to the rich world.
Previously, exports of clothing to the United States and other Western countries were controlled by something called a multi-fiber arrangement.
The agreement, enforced by the World Trade Organization, sets out the number of polo wholesale t shirts wholesale, blue jeans, trailblazer and other clothing that each developing country can send to the United StatesS. and Europe.
The agreement is intended as a Aid to expand profits from global clothing trade to poor countries such as Bangladesh.
But according to Mark Anner, at a time when developed countries were worried about lower production costs in countries such as Singapore and South Korea, it also set production caps, director of Penn State\'s Center for Global workers\' rights.
The poorest countries, including Bangladesh, benefited from this arrangement.
International companies manufactured elsewhere in the region, under pressure from domestic quota restrictions, are attracted by countries like Bangladesh due to the supply of cheap labor.
Bangladesh can also export tariffs to the EU --free and quota-
Freedom is granted due to exemptions from the World Trade Organization.
But it ended in 2004.
Many observers believe the change will hurt Bangladesh, which was then considered less competitive than other developing countries.
According to this statement, almost every country\'s investment will be withdrawn and poured into China. Wages in China are low, with the world\'s largest labor force and a strong modern port trade infrastructure, highways and railways.
As this idea develops, poor countries like Bangladesh will lose millions of jobs and even become poorer.
\"Until the beginning of 2005, China had been subject to very strict restrictions,\" said Pitra Rivoli, professor of finance and international business at Georgetown University, who wrote the book, T-
Shirts in the global economy.
\"Everyone is thinking, if you remove the Chinese restrictions, who will lose?
\"But the end of the global quota system has finally proved the great benefits of Bangladesh.
Once the quota system is eliminated, \"it allows for a huge concentration in the industry,\" Anner said . \".
\"It just allows companies to pick winners and losers.
According to Rivoli, \"China\'s apparel industry has taken off, and many apparel categories have grown by 1,000 compared to previous levels.
Output in South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, etc.
Wage countries previously protected by quotas.
But, over time, other winners have emerged ---low-
Wage countries such as India, Pakistan, Vietnam and Bangladesh.
Production in the apparel industry tends to flow in a lower direction
Wage countries, because labor is a large part of the process, each worker only needs very low skills.
It also requires infrastructure from reliable power supply to transportation facilities.
While Bangladesh\'s basic industrial structure is inefficient, it is better than many other countries can offer relatively low wages, Rivoli said.
As labor costs in Bangladesh are still near their peak, labor costs in China are rising
Enhanced its appeal to global apparel brands.
As early as 1994, workers in Bangladesh received
The minimum wage for won is about $11 a month, but it has been going on for more than a decade.
In 2006, workers took to the streets to raise wages.
The police carried out a bloody crackdown, arresting, beating and even killing workers.
As a result, the official minimum wage has doubled to $22 a month.
In a double background
This growth has not gone too far.
Three years ago, Bangladesh again raised the minimum wage to around $37 a month.
This is where it still exists today and is one of the lowest minimum wage in the world.
\"Talking to people in China or India, their view is that the wage rate in Bangladesh is very low,\" said Alice Teper Marin, head of the international head of social accountability.
Help monitor the profits of overseas factories in the apparel industry.
\"People in extreme poverty are willing to work for wages below the prevailing level in neighbouring countries.
\"But it would be worse without the clothing industry . \"
\"In fact, the rise of the apparel industry has made life less miserable for many people in Bangladesh than it was before, not just in the growing urban industrial centres.
Rural areas have also benefited from the growth of employment opportunities, especially by bringing factory wages back home, leading to what Chen calls a \"revolution in the countryside \".
\"Seizing the lever of motivation, the export boom has spawned a new uber --
It is estimated that there are about 2,000 wealthy businessmen in Bangladesh\'s garment industry, who now have a huge impact on the national economy, decision-making and the media.
A good example is Sohel Rana, the owner of the collapsed building.
Before his arrest, he was a local judge.
As the New York Times reports, party politicians are like the local mafia.
Despite the obvious structural cracks, Larna claimed that his building would \"stand for a century \".
Politicians in Bangladesh\'s parliament came from the clothing industry, partly explaining the government\'s freedom --
Fair supervision of the factory.
Their close relationship with the owners of the national newspaper also means that the grievances of the garment factory workers are basically not reported.
The collapse of Rana square and the subsequent protests were ultimately too large to be ignored.
However, although the number of deaths has risen to an unprecedented number, domestic newspapers are increasingly reporting.
The rapid growth of the industry has led to widespread corruption, which is evident in scandals such as the Holmark loan scam.
In this case, the owner of the garment
Production Holmark group pulled $0. 3 billion from the state
Bank of Sonali
By the time the scandal was revealed, Holmark had been officially honored by government officials for his excellent service to the country.
The connections between these industry captains and the government often protect them from the consequences of a deadly disaster.
On 2006, after 54 workers were burned alive in a factory supervised by KTS, a clothing company, the company manager was acquitted, although they admitted in court that after the fire began, they locked the door of the factory from the outside to prevent the workers from stealing.
On 2005, no one was held accountable after the collapse of the Spectrum sweater factory, resulting in the death of more than 60 workers, despite the company\'s violation of construction permits.
\"There is a lot of collusion between the government and the factory owners and the building owners,\" Chen said . \".
\"There are many levels of real cynical exploitation of these women.
Edison Chen is considered to be Nicholas Kristoff\'s sweatshop idea-
They are primarily a good thing, providing \"escalators out of poverty\" described by Kristoff in a controversial column \".
\"They are not really satisfactory, but it is better than what they have,\" Chen said . \".
\"I can say anything but lack of security, \'two swindlers \'.
This is too much.
\"However, it is difficult for many workers themselves to recognize that the clothing boom is a great asset, especially when they risk their lives to withdraw poverty wages from the clothing boom.
\"The clothing business is only good for the owners,\" said Abu Bakar, a worker working in the dye department of a factory in the gazzipur industrial zone.
\"You can\'t imagine how we live on these incomes.
Compared to [we got nothing]
Association of garment manufacturers and exporters of Bangladesh
Or the buyer or the owner.
We work six days a week, eight hours a day, but we can only maintain balance of payments.
\"The recent disaster, coupled with meager wages and unqualified working conditions, has created a strong sense of discontent among Bangladeshi workers and threatened social stability.
Angry workers are on the streets calling for the death of negligent factory owners and their political allies.
Apparel labels in the US and Europe are weighing their options, and they recognize that when their goods appear in factories that prove to be fatal workplaces, their brands are increasingly vulnerable to public relations
Daniel Dimel, professor of management economics and decision-making science at Northwestern University, said this represents a new development in the relationship between global companies and factories producing goods in Bangladesh, author of the reputation rules: A strategy to build your company\'s most valuable assets.
When retailers first establish supplier relationships in the country, he said, their main concern is to find factories that can produce the required products at the lowest price on time.
\"The entire human labor practice and judicial issues are not part of the decision-making process.
\"It\'s not on the radar.
\"Initially, retailers saw the deadly incident in Bangladesh as an isolated incident,\" Dimel said.
But as their customers know something about the source of their products, this has changed in recent years.
When public opinion began to focus on Nike after 1990 teenagers worked in sweatshops, most people in the industry examined child labor.
New requirements for building standards have never been incorporated into these specifications.
Now, the global apparel brand is putting a lot of effort into protecting its reputation after the Rana Plaza disaster.
Some major European brands are committed to complying with legally binding factory standards designed to improve safety in the workplace in Bangladesh.
Wal-Mart, the world\'s largest retailer, refused to participate in the effort when it announced its plan to improve workers\' safety.
However, ILO questioned the effectiveness of these efforts.
If US and European retailers see the label made in Bangladesh as a symbol of exploitation, it could push global brands on a simpler path: they may leave the country altogether, transfer orders to other low level factories
At least now--
Stain on lack of title
Capture industrial disaster
\"It\'s easy to move,\" Rivoli explains . \".
\"All you really need is a sewing machine.
This is not to say that you are going to build a car factory.
Rivoli said: \"If the industry is really eradicated, it will be a major setback for Bangladesh.
In the traditional mode of industrial development, the first is the textile industry, followed by the expansion of other industries.
Once the industry is booming and the country moves toward more complex areas such as electronics and automobiles, the apparel industry will shrink as it does in China.
This has not yet been achieved in Bangladesh.
Posner says he thinks leaving the country is also a mistake for retailers.
If companies are looking for relatively cheap labor on a global scale, then they will end up in areas where human rights records or government security enforcement are equally suspicious, such as Myanmar.
He said he would prefer the large garment companies to stay in Bangladesh while promising to keep the factory safe and pay for living.
When it comes to Western brands, Posner said: \"They are a bit out of the way . \".
\"But I can assure you that someone is watching now.
\"Many people in Bangladesh are now worried about the exit of Western brands from factory owners to workers.
Although these conditions may be harsh, for many workers, the clothing industry offers them the only hope of nominal wages.
They would rather see the industry stay and raise standards.
Dye worker Bakar understands the industry-
It\'s all too smooth.
After years of hard work in the apparel industry without a raise, he resigned in 2008 as a protest.
But after six months of work, he returned to a garment factory to survive.
He may feel used by the system, but he prefers it.
\"Without the clothing industry, thousands of poor people will be out of work,\" said Bakar.
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