Although Bangladesh has made remarkable recent strides like building green factories and meeting stringent safety standards, garment workers here are still paid one of the lowest minimum wages in the world.
It’s nearing 4:30 p.m. on a foggy day, but there seems to be no great hurry amongst the workers to wind up their day in a factory producing high-end designer bags. Located in the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) of Nilphamari, a northern district 40 kilometers from the divisional headquarters of Rangpur in Bangladesh, the area is known for creating job opportunities for the local population.
A coalition of 134 institutional investors are calling for global corporations to institute new transparency policies throughout their supply chains and to step up assistance to survivors and families still suffering a year after a major fire led to the collapse of a garments factory in Bangladesh, despite repeated warnings from workers.
Labour groups here are stepping up pressure on U.S. firms to sign a binding building safety agreement for Bangladeshi factories after 10 major European garment companies signed onto the landmark agreement.
Thousands of garment factory workers have protested in the capital, Dhaka, over the death of about 200 workers in a building collapse, as rescuers continued to hunt for survivors, local media have reported.
The Spanish public is well aware of the widespread exploitation of workers in the globalised garment industry. But low prices, shrinking buying power and the lure of brand names act as strong disincentives to responsible clothes shopping.