Bangladeshi garment factories operational

The BBC is reporting that most Bangladeshi garment workers are back to work, though they are still unhappy with the meager wage increases.  Interestingly, the line taken by the BBC is that the fault lies with the west’s “addiction to cheap fashion.”

The arrogance of the factory owners could not be more nauseating.  Abdus Salam Murshedy, President of the BGMEA, said that he could see “smiles on the faces of his workers” as they came back to the factories today.  It’s too bad he hasn’t read his Frantz Fanon.

The Bangladeshi High Court ordered the police NOT to torture labor leader Mantu Ghosh, exposing what are certainly ordinary practices for the Bangladeshi police.  This, of course, should make one wonder about the fate of the thousands of other laborers who were arrested in the past few days.  Home Minister Advocate Sahara Khatun has already said that she will punish everyone involved in the protests that took place earlier this week.

To add insult to injury and humiliation, the bosses have been able to compel the government to beef up security during the month of Ramadan, because they suspect that the workers will riot.  The real reason they are afraid is that they justified the meager wage increases by reducing the annual Eid bonus.


One thought on “Bangladeshi garment factories operational

  1. ‘The fault lies with the west’s “addiction to cheap fashion.”‘
    Blame the consumer! There is an individualistic solution! To the middle class (usually female) consumer: feel guilty about the way Bangladeshi women are treated, so spend more and buy “Fair Trade” items. Shop at Ten Thousand Villages or Whole Foods. Donate money to micro-loan foundations or put your savings in the Grameen Bank.

    Indirectly, to the low-income consumer: You need to be able to buy cheap stuff, so Wal-Mart needs to be able to get stuff cheap. Bangladeshi workers need to be willing to accept starvation wages so Wal-Mart can get stuff cheap. And you need to be willing to accept cheap wages if you work at Wal-Mart, so you can keep a job!

    Don’t ever blame the factory owners or the governments!

    Don’t get me wrong–I support worker co-ops like the one started by Fuerza Unida workers in San Antonio, and the Maquiladora Dignidad y Justicia in Piedras Negras. I support the Women and Fair Trade Festival in Austin in November. But this is not a solution. Note that the D&J was started by members of the Comite Fronterizo de Obrer@s (who had lost their jobs when textile maquiladoras in Mexico closed and moved to China where wages were even lower). The CFO organizes maquiladora workers (both inside and outside of unions) to fight for pay, benefits, health & safety. The co-ops may be seen as “prefiguring” the future of workers’ control or simply as “survival” institutions. But working-class organizing and struggle are the only long-term hope.

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