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

US merchandise trade with India, 2012–16; Courtesy: USITC

Textiles | On 27th Jul 2017

India becomes US’ 9th largest trading partner in 2016

In 2016, India became the United States’ 9th-largest single-country...

Textiles | On 27th Jul 2017

GST will lead to further increase of MMF prices

The Goods & Services Tax (GST) rolled out on July 1, 2017 is not...

Textiles | On 27th Jul 2017

Global yarn production improved 30% q-o-q in Q1: ITMF

In the first quarter of 2017, global yarn production rose by almost...

Interviews View All

Anshul Sood
Oceedee

‘Indian footwear market is nascent and largely a trend follower’

Md Hanifur Rahman
Aman Group

The level of understanding the job role and organisational requirements...

Abhishek Samdaria
Reflete

GST will certainly reduce a lot of paperwork in future

Giorgio Mantovani
Corman S.p.A

Giorgio Mantovani, MD of Corman, with a presence in both Milano and New...

Kevin Nelson
TissueGen

Kevin Nelson, Chief Scientific Officer, TissueGen discusses the growing...

Johan Berlin
InvestKonsult Sweden AB

Investkonsult Sweden AB has been buying and selling second-hand textile...

Bani Batra

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

Igor Chapurin
Chapurin

"Now we can see the Russian trend in international fashion. And Russian...

Robert Brunner
Devereux

Golfwear and menswear brand Devereux is set for greener pastures. Robert...

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

July 2017

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

news category


Related Categories:

Planning to Take the Leap towards
Sustainability?

Do you see sustainability as a route to business growth?

Yes No

Do you think the sustainability space has the needed tools and resources available for a business to lead change?

Yes No

Do you think adopting a sustainable approach will be a profitable move for your business?

Yes No

Do you want the world to know about your sustainability journey and your business’ environmental footprint?

Yes No

Thanks for your valuable feedback. Claim your free latest sustainability e-book.


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



X