Labour

In sight but out of mind

This year Bangladesh exceeded all expectations, achieving a GDP rate of over 7 percent. With higher growth, the issue of labour rights is also gaining prominence in our national discourse, with more and more emphasis being given on workplace safety and wellbeing. Those amongst us who are educated are becoming more and more aware of our rights in our workplace, as we unhesitatingly demand for better pay, better facilities, a better life, really. And why shouldn't we? This is our right as promised by our Constitution and by our state. But there still remains a large portion of our workforce, over 80 percent to be precise, who are not warranted recognition by any of our state apparatuses. When we talk proudly of progress and development, we tend to take for granted that only those who fall under a formalised structure deserve acknowledgement and thereby can demand their rights under the law. We choose to ignore more than half of Bangladesh's population who, despite their indispensible contribution, are regarded as expendable, replaceable, and thus, undeserving of formal rights or protection.

When Only Men Make the News

On the onset, it seems women are everywhere in the media. You switch on the TV, there is inevitably an attractive woman luring you into buying a product. On the radio, there is the 'young new thing' vivaciously flirting with her male co-host while shuffling through songs; and in print, the entertainment pages would simply not sell without a titillating image of a female celebrity and a scoop on her latest rendezvous. But take a closer look, beyond the objectified and stereotypical images of women, being manufactured and mass consumed ad nauseam, and where are the women, really? Take a look at the news media, for instance. Where are the women in the newsrooms, in the bylines on the front and back pages, in the column spaces of our opinion pages, in the talk shows, not simply as hosts, but as commentators on so-called hard issues such as politics and foreign affairs? Where are the women in our news (discounting the PM and her alter-ego), except as wailing victims of violence, natural disasters and such and as muses of our male photographers during cultural festivals?

Maquilas Help Drive Industrialisation in Paraguay

“There were cases of people who stopped coming to work after receiving their first wages and then came back a few days later to ask if there was more work,” because they were used to casual work in the informal economy, said Ivonne Ginard.

Not So Smart Idea

As Bhubaneswar experiences scorching heat of 43.2 degrees Celsius in early April, 5 degrees above normal, 44-year-old Prasanti Behera barely sleeps at night. Two summers ago, a fire charred 50 homes in her slum and burnt in seconds US$600 she had painstakingly saved over two years for her daughter’s marriage.

Land Tenure Still a Challenge for Women in Latin America

Rural women in Latin America continue to face serious obstacles to land tenure, which leave them vulnerable, despite their growing importance in food production and food security.

Streamlining opportunities to migrate

In Bangladesh, remittances from people living and working abroad added up to nearly Tk. 1.2 trillion last year—more than four times the nearly Tk. 250 billion that foreign aid agencies spent in the country.

The List of Shame

He stood there at the reception, with a sling bag filled with documents. He worked for a courier company. He was 10 years old. He was handsome. And he had the brightest eyes I had ever seen before.

Dhaka’s Risky Streets with Kids Driving Buses, Human Hauliers

In any country, one has to be an adult to qualify as a driver. But in Bangladesh, one does not have to obey that law to become a driver – and that literally means it is “allowed”.

Outsourcing Jobs, Insourcing Labour & Increasing Profits

For decades “outsourcing” jobs from wealthy developed countries to low-wage developing countries has been a major strategy of many corporations, industries and businesses to increase profits by reducing labor costs and operating expenses.

Clean Clothes – Fashion Free of Slave Labour in Argentina

In Argentina, there are now 20 brand names that guarantee that their garments are produced by workers in decent working conditions, thanks to the Clean Clothes network, aimed at eradicating slave labour in the garment industry, which illegally employs some 30,000 people in sweatshops around the country.

Increasing Women’s Access to Skills and Jobs

"My daughter and I were a burden on my parents,” says 20-year-old Moushumi Akter Mou from Mirpur.Married off at the age of 14, Mou could not complete her schooling. After her daughter was born, her husband remarried, leaving her feeling vulnerable and hopeless. “I felt that if I had a job, my life might be worthwhile.”

Mexico’s Chinampas – Wetlands Turned into Gardens – Fight Extinction

David Jiménez grows two kinds of lettuce and other fresh produce on his “chinampa” or artificial island just under one hectare in size in San Gregorio Atlapulco, on the south side of Mexico City.

A Question of Honour for a Nigerian Migrant

“In 2005 I left my home town in Eastern Nigeria by boat, landing in Athens, Greece along with my fellow companions - members of a football team. I decided to push my luck and moved to Italy in search of what I believed to be better opportunities to start a new life and get a decent job. Unfortunately, this may have just been an illusion.”

El Salvador Pension Reform Could Take Women into Account

El Salvador is debating reforms of the country’s privatised pension system, which could introduce changes so that it will no longer discriminate against women.

Gulf migration at an inflexion point

The steep fall in global oil prices has hit Gulf economies severely. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain are expected to run huge budget deficits as shrinking revenues from selling cheaper oil cannot fund their mounting expenditures. As they tighten their belts, the brunt of adjustment will be felt by migrants, who constitute the bulk of the labour force. Reforms include cutting fuel, power, water, education subsidies and a value-added tax (VAT). This will affect migrants and reports indicate family members are returning home.

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