Tuesday, May 23, 2006

How to survive on less than a dollar a day

Garment workers in Bangladesh are continuing their mobilisation and clothing companies in the US and Europe must be starting to get edgy - their winter 2006 production in Bangladesh is in the balance here.

"The workers started demonstrating after authorities failed to meet their demands, which include higher wages and benefits, one day off per week and an end to forced overtime, said labor leader Belayet Hossain.

Workers are often forced to work seven days a week or late into the night to meet production deadlines, Hossain added.

"We have joined the protest as we are paid pittance for our hard work," said Kamal Hussain, a garment worker who was demonstrating with about 100 others in Uttara, just outside Dhaka.

A textile worker earns about $22 a month in Bangladesh. Hossain said they were seeking at least a 30 percent raise." More...
$22 a month. €17. R145. I don't give a flying fuck about exchange rates or relative costs of living in Bangladesh, that does not even rate as a pittance in my book. 1,8 million people work in a $6 billion industry in Bangladesh so that people in Europe can have cheap but fashionable underpants for next winter. Even if it was $50 or $100 dollars a month, that is still not a living wage.

And it's not just Bangladesh. It's India, China, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. And more. There is probably someone in Cambodia willing to work for $18 a month.

If the fashion gurus of Europe and the US cancel their production and shift it elsewhere, as is their want, and although these fashion houses may suffer lost profits temporarily, it is the 1.8 million workers in Bangladesh who will be up shit creek without a paddle.

But that is not why the factory owners are calling for the army to be brought in to crush the uprising, it is their fear of losing their lion's share of the $6 billion.

Greed and the profit motive is destroying this world.


Jen said...

I enjoyed the post and your blog. I hope you don't mind that I am blogrolling you.

qrswave said...

Isn't is disastrous? I wrote about the riots a few days ago. But, it's been really busy. So, I'm really glad you're keeping up.

But, I still think that the root of all evil is the "I am better than you" mentality. Arrogance gives rise to selfish greed and the willingness to do anything it takes to prove that thesis.