Home / Knowledge / News / Apparel/Garments / The dark underbelly of Bangladeshi factories
The dark underbelly of Bangladeshi factories
18
Dec '15
C: International Labor Rights Forum
C: International Labor Rights Forum
Despite the industrial reforms launched in Bangladesh focusing on safety in the country's garment factories, workers have painted a grim picture of the ground reality where their view remain largely ignored.

In a damning report, the Washington-based International Labour Rights Forum (ILRF) says the next phase of reforms must instill the lessons that respect for workers is as important to safety as are fire exits, that workers' perspectives on safety are as important as the findings of building engineers. Without it workers' lives and health will continue to be in jeopardy.

Between October 2014 and January 2015, the ILRF interviewed more than 70 workers with the assistance of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity. ILRF says that while it wanted to talk with the workers about fire, electrical, and structural safety issues, the workers wanted to talk about more than the necessary technical repairs and renovations in their factories.

According to ILRF, the workers interviewed described a chilling web of social relations of intimidation and violence that spans factories and apparel companies, workers' communities, government agencies, law enforcement, and even their families. The effect of this web is that workers are silenced. They emphasized that until it is broken they cannot be safe. In the words of one worker, “We say nothing. They say everything. Then how would we say that it's safe?”

“The workers explain that safety is never just a thing that is given them, but a process in which they are actively and vocally engaged. They tell us “how to be safe,” a reciprocal process where factory owners and the government listen to workers and workers to them. Safety, the workers say, is fundamentally about mutual respect for their shared humanity and consideration for their different needs. This insight is at the core of these workers' understanding of safety,” ILRF said in a report.

Safety, as a process of reciprocity and mutual respect, is something the workers interviewed rarely experienced. Instead they reported production targets and workloads so high that managers prevented them from taking necessary restroom breaks, drinking water, leaving the factory at a reasonable hour, or getting leaves from work to attend to their own or their family members' medical emergencies. Workers told ILRD about wages so low they are effectively trapped in abusive conditions, and about sexual harassment and abuse for which the victims are blamed. Instead of a safe working environment, the workers described to ILRF, with some notable exceptions, a state of abject powerlessness. This is the opposite of safety, from workers' point of view.

Must ReadView All

Textiles minister Smriti Irani at a press conference with minister of state for textiles, Ajay Tamta, the principal director general (M&C), PIB, AP Frank Noronha and other dignitaries. Courtesy: PIB

Apparel/Garments | On 23rd May 2017

Special package for knitwear coming soon: Irani

Union textiles minister Smriti Irani said that the government of...

Apparel/Garments | On 23rd May 2017

Apparel, footwear use may rise by 63% in 2030: Report

The apparel and footwear consumption is projected to rise by 63 per...

Apparel/Garments | On 23rd May 2017

Gap Inc earns $3.4 bn in net sales in Q1 FY17

Gap Inc's net sales for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 were...

Interviews View All

Frank Gossmann
Rotorcraft AG

‘RT3 motto is: Do not check millimetres, check colours.’

Evelyne Cholet
UCMTF

‘France had a reputation of being big in new ideas, but poor in marketing...

Abhishek Samdaria
Reflete

GST will certainly reduce a lot of paperwork in future

Ashok Desai
Bombay Textile Research Association

Bombay Textile Research Association (BTRA) is a leading name in textile...

Kerem Durdag
Biovation II LLC

Kerem Durdag, CEO, Biovation II LLC, provides an insight into future...

Mark Paterson
Technical Absorbents Ltd

Mark Paterson, R&D manager of Technical Absorbents Ltd talks about Super...

Bani Batra

Bani Batra’s couture wedding collection is inspired by traditional Indian...

Jay Ramrakhiani
Occasions Elegance Wear

It is believed that by early 19th century, Varanasi weavers had moved away ...

Pranav Mishra
Huemn

Designers Pranav Mishra and Shyma Shetty’s Huemn is known for its...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH

news category


Related Categories:
May 2017

May 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

SUBSCRIBE


Browse Our Archives

GO


E-News Insight
Subscribe Today and Get the
Latest News Update in Your Mail Box.
Advanced Search