Almost exactly two years ago, on the morning of Apr. 24, over 3,600 workers – 80 percent of them young women between the ages of 18 and 20 – refused to enter the Rana Plaza garment factory building in Dhaka, Bangladesh,
because there were large ominous cracks in the walls.
They were beaten with sticks and forced to enter.
Visiting Bangladesh has been a lifelong dream of mine, but all that I had heard about a people who love freedom so much that they have withstood great armies, famine and intractable poverty could not prepare me for what I’ve seen in the last three days.
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.
Six months after the worst man-made disaster in Bangladesh’s history, safety conditions in garment factories have a chance to improve. But not the lives of survivors or the victims' next of kin.
On the industrial outskirts of Dhaka, which is dotted with big and small clothes factories, thousands of workers took to the streets demanding a minimum wage rise.
Citing Bangladesh's alleged failure to respect international labour rights, U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday suspended trade benefits for the South Asian country's exports under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
Australia’s largest textile workers’ union and activist groups are up in arms that the country’s leading retail chains, who source most of their fashion labels from Bangladesh, are refusing to sign a legally binding accord that will help to improve labour and safety standards in Bangladeshi garment factories.
Those responsible for the Bangladesh building collapse that killed more than 1,000 garment workers should be given life in prison, a government-appointed committee has said.
“It was dark and hot with choking dust all around. The air was filled with the smell of decomposing corpses,” recalled Nasima, a 24-year-old factory worker who spent four days buried under the rubble of an eight-storey building that collapsed in a suburb of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka last month.
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.
Last month, 18-year-old Shapla was just another one of thousands of garment workers employed in a factory in Savar, a suburb of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.
Adding to a long list of domestic woes, including a factory collapse that left hundreds dead last month, Bangladesh is now grappling with a wave of violence that threatens to deepen the gulf between secular sections of society and religious fundamentalists.
Worker advocacy groups here are calling on some of the most high-profile U.S.-based clothing companies to make drastic reforms to their international labour practices in the wake of the factory collapse that killed more than 420 workers in Dhaka last week.