Working Condition of Female Garments Worker Essay
Working Condition of Female Garments Worker
The Readymade Garment (RMG) industry of Bangladesh has emerged as a competent garment producer in global garment business in recent times. This industry has successfully transformed Bangladesh into an export-oriented economy. The RMG industry also became the major foreign currency-earning sector with highest rates of absorption of industrial employment. Interestingly, women comprise more than 80 percent of the total labor force and most of them could be otherwise destitute or empty handed. In a patriarchal society like Bangladesh, the RMG industry effectively challenged the traditional view of conflating domesticity with femininity by allowing women of low income backgrounds to move from the household to the labor market. Garment trade is regarded as a leading driver of globalization. Though garment workers gain much by working in the garment industry the informal nature of job and adverse working conditions often threaten the livelihood possibilities of workers. This study focuses on the women labor rights violation in the RMG industry in Bangladesh. It is assumed that labor rights safeguard workers from negative consequences. It is also evident that labor rights increase labor productivity. Theoretically there are opportunities to establish labor rights in the RMG industry but in practice the picture is simply unsatisfactory. The recent labor unrest in Bangladesh is the outcome of long standing violation of labor rights in the RMG industry. Labor rights can be ensured if Bangladesh Government can formulate and implement a comprehensive and effective labor law that incorporates labor rights in the RMG industry. The existing business model favored multinational enterprises headquartered in developed countries and largely overlooks laborer’s interests especially in developing countries. The organizations such as ILO, WTO, which are supposed to protect laborers from insecurity, vulnerability and injustice, are somehow problematic in relation to the implementation of labor rights in Least Developed countries. The RMG industry is the lifeline of Bangladesh economy and it has the potentialities to reduce poverty to a large extent by gaining increasing share in the world apparel market. Implementation of
labor rights can ensure sustainable livelihood of the garment workers, which in turn enhances sustainability of the RMG industry.(Arifur rahman and shohrab hossain,2010). 1.2Background and statement of the problem
The Readymade Garment (RMG) industry of Bangladesh tells an impressive story of the country’s successful transition towards a major export-oriented economy. Starting its journey in the late 1970s with a relatively small investment, the industry flourished in 1980s and 1990s and has become the largest industry in Bangladesh. The contributory factors of the RMG industry in Bangladesh are global trading agreements, cheap labor cost, government policy support and dynamic private entrepreneurship. All these things have helped Bangladesh to gain a handsome share in the global garment business. From early 1990s onwards the RMG industry has become the largest foreign exchange earning sector in the economy. In 2005-06, Bangladesh earned nearly $8 billion by exporting garment products and RMG covers over 75 percent of the total export of the country, having the lion’s share of the country’s foreign exchange. Contribution of RMG is very positive in Bangladesh economy, sharing 13 percent of the total national GDP (Ahmed and Hossain, 2006). Now in Bangladesh, more than 10 million people’s livelihoods directly and indirectly depend on this single industry and it accounts 40 percent of industrial employment (World Bank 2006). More than 2 million garment workers are working in approximately 4250 RMG units; of them over 85 percent are women. Despite the impressive performance, the RMG industry has several problems especially in terms of working conditions. There is a growing concern that working conditional rights are often violated in Bangladeshi RMG industry. Bangladesh is committed to secure environmental support for the well-being of laborers by virtue of ILO membership. But the outcome observed in the RMG industry is simply unsatisfactory. Instead of formal sector arrangements, an informal nature of employment persists in the RMG industry with negative consequences ranging from poor working conditions, to low wages, to repression. Against the longstanding deprivation there was a wave of resistance across the RMG industry in May, 2006 that caused a loss of around US $70 million. Researchers, journalists, and labor right activists claim that the damage would not happen if government can formulate and implement a comprehensive and effective labor law that incorporates
rights in the RMG industry. These critics also indicate the global prevailing business system which largely benefits business sectors in developed countries creates barriers in implementing working environmental rights not only in Bangladesh, but also in most developing countries. Thus the realities on the ground call for a fresh analysis and solution to the existing problems. (Paul- Majumder and Begum,2000). 1.3 Aims and Objective of the Research
Though many issues are related to RMG industry, the study briefly analyses those issues with an emphasis on working environmental rights. This study intends to provide an extensive research that covers implementation of working environmental rights in RMG industry. Thus the major research question that as explored is: “how can labor rights be incorporated into the Ready Made Garment working conditions especially in health and occupational safety?” The major objective of the study is to conceptualize and understand working conditions scenario in the Ready Made Garment (RMG) Industry in Bangladesh. The research project covers multiple dimensions such as economy, gender, labor standards, policies and practices. The study intends to critically analyze theories associated with the research project and an interpretation of those theories in the real life scenario and search for a framework to set competing ideas and different visions and putting them into practice. Finally, the study recommends some suggestions for the benefits of the garment worker’s working condition as well as the garment industry as a whole. Aims of this research are as follows:
1. To know the socio-demographic characteristics or background of the respondents. 2.To get an idea of problems and challenges face by female garments workers in relation to working conditions. 3. How working conditions and environment are affecting female garments workers labor rights? 4. To know are female garments workers aware of their labor rights in relating issues? 5. To provide a proposition as to how existing labor rights can be ensured and also to provide a rationale for the enactment of new laws if necessary. 1.4 Significance of the study
This study basically will be finished for covering academic course. So in
this sense it has great importance. This topic is selected knowing the contemporary unrest situation of garments industry in Bangladesh. This research will be carefully completed so that it will be used both in academic purposes and furthers. Its findings acts as a guiding and coordinating authority at policy level on compliance related activities. It may also as the coordinating work of National Social Compliance Forum. It may noticeable to NGO’s to take program to female workers such as training method. Trainings take place at the factory level, during working hours, and bring the factory under increased scrutiny. May influence and rises the human mind of owners by realizing
1.5 Limitations of the study
There are some of the limitations for the study which include: 1. Difficulty in getting the targeted 150 participants.
2. Illiterate female workers may not take the research seriousness
Review of study literature
In this concept, experts, researchers, law expertise written different thinks in different papers, books, and journals. That means there is available information about this topic. Now try to highlight some opinions on this topic that are helpful to reach appropriate findings according to objectives. Now presenting and discussing shortly in an accurate way and given below. 2.1 Review of Literature:
Khatun, Rahman, Bhattacharya and Moazzem (2008), RMG industries enjoyed a dramatic rise from 30 enterprises in 1980 to about 4740 in 2007-2008 fiscal years. According to one statistics whereas in 1983-84 RMG sector employed 0.040 million workers, in 2007-08 this figure increased to 2.500 million (BGMEA 2009). Gross foreign exchange earnings from RMG exports and their contribution to the total export earnings have increased significantly over time. The sector’s earnings stood US$ 7.9 billion from US$ 3.36 million in fiscal year 1981 and in 2007, 77.4% of total export earnings of Bangladesh
came from RMG sector. The share of RMG exports in total GDP became 13.1 in FY 2006 compared with 0.16% in FY 1984. It is important that 80% of the total workers of RMG sector are women.
According to (siddiqi,2005), Almost every country irrespective of its stage of development, is engaged in garment manufacturing and trading and almost, without any exception, historically, the readymade industry was the first industry a country was able to introduce which eventually led to the development of other industries. This industry migrates from high-wage to low-wage countries like a “flying goose”.
Khan (2001), in his study mentioned that there is deliberate feminization of the workforce of the garment industry in Bangladesh and there are three reasons behind this deliberate feminization. These are: (1) Garment factory owners perceived that like the poor women workers of other Asian NICs who had been socially and economically oppressed for so long and who have low aspirations wages, teen age girls and young women from rural areas of Bangladesh have low aspiration wages. so, they appointed mainly unskilled teen age girls or young women mainly from the rural areas; (2) Since they are already in a susceptible socio-economic condition, as compared to their male counter parts, will agree to work for extra hours and if situation demands it will be easier to dismiss them; (3) most garment factory owners perceived them as docile, trustworthy and manageable. The author also mentioned in his study that most Bangladeshi garment factory owners have failed to see any causal relationship between labor standards and productivity outcomes. Therefore, many of them have become cost effective mainly by lowering labor standards and taking opportunities for low-wage employment due to the profusion of a young female labor force.
Delahanty (1998), mentioned that workers of garment factories in Bangladesh frequently suffer from hacking coughs, severe eye strain due to poor lighting and working hours, respiratory problems, low back and joint pain and urinary tract infections because they are denied access to toilet facilities. The authors also mentioned that travel to and from factories are dangerous and women are often sexually harassed.
Paul- Majumder and Begum (2000), found (most of the data of this study have been collected from the survey of 1990; 1993 and 1997) that male and female workers of garment industry work about 12 hours a day, there is absence of leave facilities and weekly holiday. They found that although the workers were paid for overtime work on weekly holiday, no alternative holidays were given to these workers whereas workers in other export and non export industries enjoy almost all weekly holidays.
Absar (2001), in her study mentioned that Bangladesh has the cheapest unit of labor cost in South Asia. It costs only 11 cents to manufacture a shirt in Bangladesh whereas it costs 79 cents in Srilanka and 26 in India. Clearly, the comparative advantage of Bangladesh in this case lies in having the cheapest unit labor cost. The author also mentioned that workers of garment factories in Bangladesh are asked to work whole months at a time without a single day off.
Rogers (2010), in his writing mentioned that Bangladeshi garment workers are the lowest paid garment workers in the world. Although their minimum wage was supposed to have risen to about $40 a month in November 2010, many garment factory owners are still paying the old minimum wage of $24 a month.
Another survey by the Bangladesh Institute of Labor Studies (BILS), based on news reports in 12 national dailies, reveals that at least 51 women working in the industrial and service sectors were raped in the first six months of the past year.
According to Paul-Majumder (1998), the rate of miscarriage among garments workers is very high and most of them experience abortions more than once.
Siddiqi(2003),Harassment forms vary by time and place inside the factory. The most common form identified by all three groups was the gali or expletives to which women are subjected during work hours. The highly sexualized vocabulary and body language used to discipline female workers creates a hostile, intimidating and sexually charged environment. Industrial workers
in Bangladesh are harassed on the streets because of the conditions of their work, even if when incidents of harassment occur outside the workplace. This study has attempted to provide a definition that is consonant with the experiences and views of workers themselves. From the findings, it is clear that workers do not think of harassment exclusively as a woman’s issue but as one that is integrally connected to class, honor and the dignity of labor. It is the specific working conditions of industrial workers that expose them to dangers on the street. Mahtab(2003),Despite the great effort which these brave women working hard day and night are showing, are not getting the due recognition from their employers which they very rightly deserve. Not only that, they are even denied of their basic rights. When it comes to their reproductive health and other related issues, very less importance are given.
Mondal (2002), and Khan (2001), in Bangladesh research and policy attention on workers’ rights and labor relations in the private sector and the informal economy have been scarce; most of the attention has been on labor relations in the formal economy and on public sector workers.
(Labor Force Survey 2005-06),The workforce consists primarily of young unmarried women from rural areas with a few years of schooling, who were not only first time factory workers but workers in their first paid job. This is in stark contrast to the male predominance in the general workforce where there are three male workers for every female worker.
Mahmud and Ahmed (2005), increase in the level of workers’ education may be contributing to a reduction in male-female wage differences and to the visible decline in the sexual harassments faced by the female workers in the work place.
Paul-Majumder (2003) said that, the very young age of female garment’s worker is also responsible for various kind of harassment such as harassed by colleagues, by police, by mastans etc. In the garment industry men and women hold different jobs and consequently are exposed to different types of hazards. Majority of the women work in the low-paid and less skilled jobs,
where work hazards are comparatively higher than others jobs.
Naila Kabeer and Simeen Mahmud, in their paper discusses the nature of female workers contracts and their terms and conditions, their rights & restructuring processes of garment industries. The paper titled “Globalization and Bangladesh-A Discussion on Bangladesh’s Garment Industry” was about globalization & Bangladesh garment industries. The paper discussed how globalization affects the garment industries has been highlighted in this paper. The problem of health and safety issues of female workforce in garment industries of Bangladesh is now very important regarding international workplace norms in the International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
S Akhter, AFM Salahuddin, M. Iqbal, ABMA Malek and N Jahan (2010), discussed about healh and safety issues and they picked up that- For Health
(i) Not enough congenial and hygienic working atmospheres in industry (ii) Sexual harassment by lineman, supervisor and manager to the female workers (iii) Not enough toilet and washroom facilities (iv) Pure water is not available for drinking and washing for female workers (v) Discrimination in wages fixation and other facilities between male & female workers (vi) Not enough maternity leave for female workers. If so, then without pay (vii) No weekly holiday for female workers. If so, then without pay (viii) No recreation facilities for workers (ix) No baby care center for female workers.
(i) Management is not aware enough for safety and physical comfort of female workers (ii) In human activities by the security guard to the female workers. (iii) Not enough fire exit doors and ventilation for air circulation of industry building. (iv) The management offers no appointment letter for any kinds of worker (v) It is found that most of the garment industries do not use safety sign according to the ILO conventions (vi) Most of the fire and smoke alarm bells does not work in garment industries and (vii) Many garment industries does not have fire and smoke alarm systems.
F. Begum, R. N. Ali, M.A. Hossain and Sonia B. Shahid (2010) asserted that-The garment’s worker job is very monotonous in nature. Because of the nature of their jobs, female workers sometimes lose interest in work and become depressed. Female workers are sexually harassed by their co-workers in the factory or by police or by mastans in the street. Communication problem is a major problem faced by most of the female garment workers. A long distance travel is not only physical strenuous but also mentally stressful. Their overtime rate is very low. Long working hours result in a number of illnesses and diseases like headache, eye trouble, ear ache, musculoskeletal pain etc. Women are exploited easily due to lack of technical knowledge and training. The employers do not pay any heed to this exploitation. Naznin Zahan Chowdury and Md Hafij Ullah(2010), mentioned that- the standard of living of the female garment workers is still in precarious condition and they are not free from the vicious circle of poverty and face extreme difficulties in obtaining their basic needs for survival even. And also recommends measures for improving the prevailing socio-economic facilities, to a great extent, to achieve female workers’ satisfaction at the maximum level.
Md. Arifur Rahman and Mir Sohrab Hossain (2010), expressed that, Bangladesh needs to emphasize on the factory working environment, social issues, labor relations and compliances with codes of conduct. the improvement of factory activities through compliances and finds out a close relationship between compliance and productivity.
Najmul kadir kaikobad and Md zafar alam bhuiyan(2012), said that, Garments workers change their jobs for higher salary, bad environment, transportation, housing and related others problems related with their working stations where the female for good environment, good communication and harassment free working condition.
Elson and Pearson,(1981); Lim,(1990) explained that, In export production factories around the world, women have emerged as preferred workers; employers often cite the lower costs, and the docility and nimbleness of
women in comparison to men. However, a full understanding of the movement of women into the garments factories of Bangladesh requires us to consider not only the pull but also the push factors such as lack of working opportunities, environmental problems, jobs related problems and so on.
Selim,(12 August 2010, P.9), According to the socialists, the female garments workers of Bangladesh are not even given the value of their labor power which they sell to the garments owners, not to speak of the “surplus value” which they create in the process of production in this sector. The workers of this sector are subjected to “super-exploitation” instead of the normal process of exploitation.
Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled(2011), expressed that, Garments workers are badly exploited by the factory owners in collaboration with their foreign buyers resulting in a sub-human standard of life of workers. The occasional agitations for higher wages and better amenities for workers are alleged to be fanned up to violence by some interested quarters together with the privileged unorganized labor leaders and certain NGOs.
Md Zafar Alam Bhuiyan(2012), indicated that, amongst the workers about 70 per cent are women, who work dawn to dusk even up to late night when their wages are not in the satisfactory level. They cannot afford their foods, cloths, housing, medicines, and educations of their wards as they are ill paid. On the contrary, their children are deprived from their care; they suffer from malnutrition and unhygienic complexities. They have no time or scope for recreation.
Mustafa kamal,Mohammed masum billah, Sanjida hossain(2010), finded out the relation between implementation of Bangladesh Labor Act 2006 and labor unrest. Major factors have been considered which are closely related to working conditions as the cause of labor unrest and also reveals that employees’ wages and payment is the most significantly correlated factor to labor unrest.
Shahidur Rahman(2004), Since independents the Bangladesh economy dependent on
agriculture as most of the people live in rural areas. The goal of the government policy is to reduce poverty by receiving the maximum output from agriculture and attains self-sufficiency in food production. Beside agriculture, the development of export sector is under greater consideration. Exports from Bangladesh have both grown and changed substantially as time goes on.
Spinanger,(1986), After the birth of Bangladesh, jute and tea were the most export-oriented sectors. But with the constant threat of flooding, declining jute fibre prices and a significant decrease in world demand, the contribution of the jute sector to the country’s economy has deteriorated.
Ferdous Ahmed(2008), More than 78% of Bangladesh’s export earnings come from the garment industry. The ready-made garments (RMG) sector has a greater potential than any other sector in terms of employment and foreign exchange earnings to reduce poverty and make a contribution to the national economy. However working conditions in this vital sector are poor. Bangladesh’s RMG factories fall short on ‘social compliance1’. That is, they do not comply with labour practices that ensure the social welfare of their employees.
Kumar (2006) focusses; Garments workers are concerned with long working hours or double consecutive shifts, personally unsafe work environment, poor working conditions, wage and gender discrimination. Indeed, employers treat the RMG workers as slaves, exploiting workers to increase their profit margins and keep their industry competitive in the face of increasing international competition.
Morshed(2007), advocates the key role of Cambodian labour unions in the clothing sector and as mediator’s between workers and factory owners to settle disputes and discuss wages
Rahman, Khanam, and Nur (1999), Bangladesh is considered to have the child labour problem especially in the RMG sector. In most cases, children often commence work at a very young age; as a result, they are suffering serious injuries and sometimes death in the workplace.
Shayama Akhtar and Asheek Mohammad Shimul(2012), To reduce the effect of hazardous factors the Organizational Safety and Health (OSH) management should be encouraged in garments and tannery industries of Bangladesh by rapid assessment and re-addressing of legislations in industries of Bangladesh. With this, steps in ratifying OSH related International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions should be maintained and formal training program need to organize for all categories of workers for proper use of the safety equipments.
MahmudR.B(2012), The RMG industry has been Bangladesh’s key export industry and a main source of foreign exchange for the last 25 years. As a result of an insulated market guaranteed by Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA)2 of General Agreement Tariff and Trade (GATT) and supportive policies of the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), it attained a high profile in terms of foreign exchange earnings, exports, industrialization and contribution to the GDP within a short period. In less than a decade it increased its exports, foreign exchange earnings, and contribution to the GDP by 4.39 %. RMG exports reached a steadfast figure of USD 17.91 billion in fiscal year 2010-2011; accounting more than 78% of national export earnings, which was about 4%-5% of the global total of such exports. It further contributes 10% to the country’s GDP
Bansari(2010), Recruitment policies are highly informal compared to western standards and there are no written formal contracts and appointment letters. They are therefore vulnerable to losing their jobs at any time. However, fear of losing their jobs and lack of alternative job opportunities compel workers to continue in unsatisfactory employment
(Majumder and Anwara, 2000; Priyo, 2010), In Bangladesh, working conditions are often deplorable. Although the garments industry belongs to the formal sector, the recruitment procedure is largely informal compared to western practice. As there is no contract or appointment letter, millions of garments workers are vulnerable to losing their jobs at a moment’s notice without benefits. The termination of an employment relationship is likely to
be a pathetic and miserable experience for a worker and loss of income badly affects his or her family. Furthermore, gender issues in majority garments factories are undermined causing job insecurity, irregular wage payment, deprivation of minimum wage and promotion exposure. In fact compared to other employment sector in Bangladesh, job insecurity is higher in the RMG sector. (Kabeer N., 2004; Shimu, 1999; Mondal, 2000), Though most work until after dark, there are no safety measures for them and no residential facilities or transportation facilities provided. As a result, they frequently feel insecure, and for good reason many female garments workers are raped and abused.
Ahamed F(2011), Below the case in Bangladesh is compared with Thailand, which has codified employment laws, regulated by the Department of Labor, Protection and Welfare, stipulate working conditions such as maximum work hours, holidays, sick leave, minimum wage and severance pay. From above discussion it is clear that different researcher studied on this topic with its great importance of expression of its vulnerability to people to govt. Now in this sense with the help of this literature this study is made with the best interest including academic importance and personal.
2.2 Conceptual framework:
Health and hygienicSalary
Safety Environmental Working hours
Welfarerights Gender based rightsWorking leave
Medical facilities Maternity benefit
Female worker rightsAccidental helps
Violation of rights
Existing working conditions
Garments factory and working conditions
3.1 Garments factory: Generally an industry initially develops to domestic demand, and then subsequently turns to export once it becomes matured. The evolution of garments industry in Bangladesh, as in most CBI and Sub-Saharan countries, has not followed this pattern. Instead of growth being supped by domestic demand, the rise of RMG industry in Bangladesh can be attributed to growing demand in developed countries for cheap apparel. But it should be noted that there was a small domestic garments industry in the – then East Pakistan in 1960s which created demand in West Pakistan. The mercury shirt, a company located in Karachi, sourced a few consignments of shirts during 1965-68 made by some tailoring outfits operating in Dhaka and the exported these to some European countries. There were few tailoring shops in Dhaka who made garments a small quantity of export-quality shirts and children wears on specific orders. Mainly they received orders from West Pakistan (Karachi –based firm) & supply thereafter. However there was very little investment in that time. Of course, the involvement was also very little as it was in the initial stage. During the early eighties, the government issued licenses to many entrepreneurs for the duty free importation of machinery to produce garments for export for export purposes. Consequently, the number of firms in the garments industry increased rapidly and reached 632 in 1984-85,a phenomenal growth in deed as shown in the table 1.Bangladesh exported its garments to the North American and European Markets in the early eighties; at that time, its export were not subject to MFA Quotas in these markets, hence the spectacular growth. However, the very rapid growth of imports of apparel from Bangladesh prompted the US, Canada and the European countries to impose the MFA Quotas on Bangladesh garments export. This had temporarily showed down growth of RMG industry in Bangladesh; there was a restrained increase in the number of firms from 744 in 1985-86 to 804 in 11989-90. Export growth had also slowed down somewhat during 1985-90 period. However, the industry bounced back from 1990 onwards. According to the BGMEA, there were 4300 member firms in 2004-05 which 2275
were woven garments units, 700 were knitted factories, and 525 were sweaters; however, 133 of these were closed .in addition, there were 560 units which were exclusive members of the Bangladesh Knitwear Exporters and Manufacturers Association (BKMEA).Thus the total number of active firms producing garments in Bangladesh was woven units, 42 percents knit units, and 11 percent producing sweaters. Total employment generated by these enterprises is estimated to be 1.9 million production workers, or 2 million if all employees are included .Most of these workers (an estimated 80 percent) are women from the rural areas. The number of garments factories shot up to some 3000 in 2002 and by 2005 it reached 3560.By 2004-05 exports had reached US$ 6.4 billion. The average growth rate of export during 1990/91-1997/98 was almost 21 percent per year. However, the growth rate of export declined in the 1998/99-2004/05 period mainly due to exogenous factors like flood in 1988, the global recession in 2000, and the 11 September incidents in the US the garments following year. The share of garments export earnings of Bangladesh climbed from 3.89 percent in 1983-84 to 75.67 percent in 1998-99 and has stayed around this level since then. An important development in RMG sector of Bangladesh was the growth of knitted garments export in the early 1990s .The garments industry was almost completely dominated by woven garments during the 1980s.Export of knit wear to the tune of US $ 131.20 million was the first major consignment of knit RMG export from Bangladesh. After this knitwear export from Bangladesh grew rapidly; during the ten year period 1993/94-2003/04 the annual growth rate of knitwear export was about 23 percent, which was higher than the annual growth rate of 10.6 percent achieved by the woven garment during this period.(shimul,2012).
Table-a: Structure of RMG Industry in Bangladesh| Garment Category| Number of firms (adjusted)| Share (percent) | Employment| Woven| 1673| 47| 836500| Knitwear| 1495| 42| 747500| Sweaters| 392| 11| 337120| Total| 3560| 100| 1921120| Source: The World Bank Bangladesh Development Series Paper (2003)| 3.2 The export-oriented
readymade garment (RMG) industry:
Global restructuring processes, including two non-market factors, such as quotas under Multi Fiber Arrangement (MFA) (1974–2005) in the North American market and preferential market access to European markets, led to the “emergence of an export-oriented garment industry in Bangladesh in the late 1970s” and ensured the garment sector’s continual success. The garment industry in Bangladesh became the main export sector and a major source of foreign exchange starting in 1980, and exported about $5 billion USD in 2002 In 1980 an export processing zone was officially established in at the port of Chittagong. By 1981, 300 textile companies, many small ones had been denationalized often returned to their original owners. In 1982, shortly after coming to power following a bloodless coup, President Hussain Muhammed Ershad introduced the New Industrial Policy (NPI), most significant move in the privatization process, which denationalized much of the textile industry, created (EPZs) and encouraged direct foreign investment. Under the New Industrial Policy (NPI) 33 jute mills and 27 textile mills were returned to their original owners. The export of ready-made garments (RMG) increased from $USD 3.5 million in 1981 to $USD 10.7 billion in 2007. Apparel exports grew, but initially, the ready-made garments RMG industry was not adequately supported by the growth up and down the domestic supply chain (e.g., spinning, weaving, knitting, fabric processing, and the accessories industries). From 1995 to 2005 the WTO Agreement on textile and clothing(ATC) was in effect, wherein more industrialized countries consented to export fewer textiles while less industrialized countries enjoyed increased quotas for exporting their textiles Throughout the 10-year agreement, Bangladesh’s economy benefited from quota-free access to European markets and desirable quotas for the American and Canadian markets.
export market| USA (textile)| USA (clothing)| EU (textile)| EU (clothing)| market share in 1995| <3%| 4%| <3%| 3%|
market share in 2004| 3%| 2%| 3%| 4%|
As the above table shows, the market shares for Bangladeshi textiles in the USA and both textiles and clothing in the European Union have changed during the time period of the ATC. ( Marianne Scholte,2013). 3.3 Effect of trade
market: The United States introduced the Tariff Relief Assistance for Developing Economies Act of 2009 designated Bangladesh as one of the 14 least developed countries (LDC), as defined by the United Nations and the US State Department, eligible for “duty-free access for apparel assembled in those countries and exported to the U.S.” from 2009 through 2019. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), an industry lobby group, claimed that in 2008 alone Bangladesh paid “$USD 576 million as duty against its export of nearly $3 billion’ mainly consisting of woven and knitwear. 3.4 Working condition: Poor working conditions at garment factories in Bangladesh are making headlines globally following the Rana Plaza disaster. Most live in very poor conditions. Although wages in the garment sector are comparable to wages in the rest of the economy, the constant stream of garment workers from the countryside to the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong has made affordable housing a critical problem. It is not unusual for workers to pay over half their salary for a few square meters in which to sleep and eat. And it is also not unusual for landlords to raise the rent as soon as a garment worker gets a salary increase. Women are more malnourished than men — and this applies everywhere in Bangladesh, not just in the factories. The garment workers pay the rent, buy clothes and support their children and their parents, so they skimp on food for themselves. They are tired and underfed, so they get sick. When they are 40, they do not have the strength to continue working in the factory. But they have very little savings, because they have sent any extra they had to the village for their children and parents.( Marianne Scholte,2013).
Methodology of the study
According to Nachmias and Nachmias (1996 p 13) “A scientific methodology is a system of explicit rules and procedures upon which research is based and against which claims for knowledge are evaluated”. Method originally means the way to the goal. For using the required method in the different stages of the research, it is necessary to have a clear idea about the content and the purpose of the research (Kvale:
1996). This research has been made both quantitative and qualitative method for collecting data and analyzing to reach the purpose.
Research design can be defined as the framework that guides the study. It is provide the ground that research validity can be assessed. This study completed of employing survey design which has been chosen due to a number of factors. First, survey design helps to provide the necessary framework to accommodate the high number of participants in the study. Survey makes it easy to cover all the participants within the stipulate time for the study. Survey design has provided an opportunity to interact with the participants and therefore understood more about the research getting important aspects of the research which cannot be captured in the data collection tools. For qualitative data case study is used. 4.2Sampling
In this study simple random sampling specifically accidental sampling has been used. This helped to ensure that the study adheres to the required standards of accuracy and validity. Simple random sampling will give each and every subject a chance to participate in the study which means it will reduce bias (Charmaz, 1983). The main population for research includes female garments workers. From this population, the study randomly selected 150 female workers to participate in the study. The size of the population has been preferred in order to increase accuracy and validity of the data collection and reduces bias.
4.3Data collection tools
Data collection tool employed in a study is very important. It influences the accuracy and validity of the collected data and the results as well. Data collection tool must be congruent with the selected research design (Lewis-Beck, 1995). There are many factors to consider when selecting data collection tools but most important depends with the nature of data to be collected. This research has a large sample of 150 participants. This means that the selected tool must be able to collect data from 150 participants within the stipulated time period. In consideration of the research design, the study has selected survey design. Therefore, self administered
questionnaires are the best for the survey study. Questionnaires have been chosen over other tools owing to a number of reasons. First questionnaires help to make it easy to collect data from the large number of participants. This is because participant and pick the questionnaires and fill it out to return it later. This means many participants can be covered within one day. Questionnaires are cheap and will be processed within the limits of the funds available. Questionnaires are also likely to reduce biases error by giving interactive spaced between the researcher and the participants. Through this interaction, researchers are able to assess attitudes and experiences of the study participants which are not likely to be covered in the study. For qualitative data that means case study data check list is used. 4.4Data Analysis
Through the questionnaire, the study has collected both qualitative and quantitative data. Qualitative data will have to be coded to make it easy and legible for analysis. All collected data has been analyzed using statistical tools like mean, average, percentages, and other methods such as SPSS. 4.5 Working definition:
Women worker: In this study women is treated both under and above 18 years ages. Working condition: Here including both inside and outside environment of factory.
Health and occupational safety: That means all physical related affairs and economical factors and also welfare allowance.
Findings of the study
Findings of the quantitative analysis
5. Univariate analysis
5.1 Age of the respondents
Most of the female workers are belong to young. The study finds that 80
percent of the female workers are aged less than 30, while only 17.33 percent of the workers are aged 31-40 and only 2.67 above 41 years. This implies that female workers cannot work in the garment fully for long time because of occupational hazards and workplace stress and the employers do not prefer aged-experienced workers in the factories to reduce cost by employing fresh workers at low remuneration (Majumder & Begum 2000). According to this study there some workers those are not cross the 18 years, but in the Bangladesh labor act 2006 declare in section 34 that prohibition of employment of child and adolescents.
5.2 Marital status of the respondents
Among the female workers surveyed, 43 percent are married and 45 percent are unmarried 10 percent are divorced and 2 percenr others. Majumder and Begum (2000) found that 23 percent of the unmarried garment workers are the main earners of their family. According to this study all class of women are the main earners of the family. Who are the married they lead the own family those are unmarried they help to lead the father’s family and others earn for oneself or further needs.
Education is the backbone and foundation of getting a job and performing better in the job. Increase in the level of workers’ education contributes to a reduction in male-female wage differences and to the visible decline in the sexual harassments faced by the female workers in the work place (Mahmud and Ahmed 2005). This survey indicates that of the total workers served only 3percent are illiterate and 17 percent can sign only. On the other hand, 30 percent of the workers have education up to class V, while 45 percent have education class vi-x and only 5 have education above class x. Because workers educational level is low, their work understanding and working capacity is expected to be poor. For this, they get poor remuneration and facilities from employers. 5.4 Religion
Trough this table, expressing the religious status of the respondents. Here
most of the respondents are muslim that is 73 percent and hindus are 27 percent and others religious person are absence. 5.5 Monthly Income
Salaries and perquisites are the main factors that determine the economic position and life standard of garment workers. This survey reveals that only 20 of the female workers get Tk. 4,000 or less as total pay per month, which is really insufficient to lead their life with 3-4 dependent members in the family. Only 7 of the female workers get more than Tk. 5,000 as total monthly salary. Women labors are very cheap in Bangladesh but they are employed in this industry to exploit the comparatives advantages of their disadvantages like the low price of their labor, their low bargaining power, and their docility (Majumder & Begum 2000). Women are getting low salaries as they are employed in lower level and unskilled jobs. A study indicates that the female workers earn only about 60 percent of the earnings of the male workers (Majumder & Begum, 2000). 5.6 Basic salary
According to this table it is seen that most of the respondent get salary from the range 1001-1500. Only 7 respondents get above 2000 taka whereas only 3 respondents get below 500 taka. 5.7 Payment schedule
Payment schedule| frequency| percentage|
25th-last day| 05| 3.33|
1st -10th| 37| 24.67|
11th-15th| 73| 48.67|
After -15th| 35| 23.33|
Total| 150| 100|
The workers are not only deprived of appropriate amount of salary but also deprived of getting the salary in time. According to the section 123 of the BLA, 2006, the wages of every worker shall be paid within seven days after the expiry of the wage period. Our survey result shows that only 28 percent of the workers get their salary of the last month before and within 10th day of the next month, 48.67 percent get their salaries of the last month before 15th day of the next month and 23.33percent of the workers need to wait more than 15 days to get their salaries of the last month. 5.8 Bonus
Bonus structure| Frequency| Percentage|
Regular attendance| 0| 0|
Festival| 90| 60|
Better performance| 22| 14.67|
Profit| 21| 14|
others| 17| 11.33|
Total| 150| 100|
From this table having know the bonus system of garment factory. According to this it is seen that most of bonus Is given during different festival such as eid, puja etc. whish indicated here 60 percent. On the other hand some worker takes it from the annual profit of the factory and others time. Bonus is given for the inspiration of worker so that they can good way.
5.9 Type of work
Type of work| Frequency| Percentage|
Quality controller| 3| 2|
Supervisor| 2| 1.33|
Operator| 40| 26.67|
Sewing helper| 50| 33.33|
Folding| 1| 0.67|
Finishing helper| 30| 20|
Polyer| 20| 13.33|
Embroidery| 2| 1.33|
Line chief| 2| 1.33|
Total| 150| 100|
According this study most women are working as a sewing helper 33.33 percent, operator 26.67 percent. Women are not join the highest position like men though only 2 percent are quality controller but it is so much lowest.
5.10 Working hours
Working hours| Frequency| Percentage|
Less than 8| 07| 4.67|
8-9| 93| 62|
9-10| 37| 24.67|
10-11| 7| 4.66|
11-12| 6| 4|
Total| 150| 100|
The most tedious condition of work in the garment factories is the long working hours. According to section 100 of the Bangladesh Labor Act (BLA) of 2006, no adult worker shall ordinarily be required or allowed to work in an establishment for more than 8 hours a day. Of the total women workers surveyed, 24.67 percent work more than 9 hours a day, while 4.67 percent work more than 8 hours a day, even 4 percent work more than 11 hours.
5.11 Overtime work(hours)
Overtime (hours)| Frequency| Percentage|
5| 80| 53.33|
6| 42| 28|
7| 18| 12|
8| 8| 5.33|
9| 2| 1.34|
Total| 150| 100|
Overtime work is an advantage and an extra earning source for the female garment workers. According to Section 109 of the BLA, 2006, no women shall, without her consent, be allowed to work in an establishment between the hours of 10.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m. About 53.33 percent of the workers work more than 5 of hours overtime a day, while28 percent work more than 6 hours of overtime a day. In some cases, workers do overtime in the week end. As their salary is very low, they always try to earn some extra amount from overtime. Hence, they cannot provide much time for their family or children. As a result, they become unhappy in their family life. Moreover, female workers are obliged to shorten their time for pleasure and sleep due to long working hours and all domestic chores (Majumder & Begum 2000).
5.12 Job environment
Job environment| Frequency| Percentage|
Very bad| 4| 2.67|
Bad| 38| 25.33|
Neutral| 72| 48|
Good| 20| 13.33|
Very good| 16| 10.67|
Total| 150| 100|
Job environment is a vital factor for the garment workers, specifically for female garment workers. Our survey finds that job or work environment is quite good in the surveyed garment factories. Only about 28 percent of the female workers are dissatisfied with their job environment expressing bad, while 24 percent are happy with their job environment and remaining 48 percent are neutral in this regard. The better job environment was possible to achieve due to imposition of terms and conditions by foreign buyers and strict monitoring of the government regulatory authorities.
Types of problems| Frequency| Percentage|
Job insecurity| 60| 40|
Sexual harassment| 15| 10|
Bad behaviors of co-workers| 10| 6.67|
Communication problem| 30| 20| |
Housing problem| 15| 10| |
Attack by mastans| 5| 3.33| |
Attack by hijacker| 10| 6.67| |
Harassed by police| 5| 3.33|
Total| 150| 100|
According to this study have seen there are different problems are arisen both inside and outside the factory. Here most important is job insecurity because of availability of labor any mistake is the cause of sack. On the other hand communication problem is another problem which is 20 percent even may fall hijacker that is 6.67 and police harassment is 3.33 percent.
5.14 Types of disease
Types of diseases or illness| Frequency| Percentage| No problem| 5| 3.33|
Headache| 30| 20|
Musculoskeletal pain| 20| 13.33|
Physical weakness| 50| 33.33|
Eye pain| 10| 6.67|
Chest/ back pain| 12| 8|
diarrhoea| 8| 5.33|
Skin disease| 5| 3.33|
Gastric| 5| 3.33|
Typhoid| 5| 3.33|
Total| 150| 100|
Work in the garment factory severely affects women’s health, as they are confined in a small factory. Moreover, the hot and humid climate of Bangladesh makes the environment of these small factory buildings unhygienic and this condition is largely responsible for widespread prevalence of some illness and diseases among the garment workers. Prolonged standing is also common in the garment factory. In the finishing section of the factory, the ironer category workers have to keep standing up throughout their work period. The case is similar with the folder category workers. The helper category workers in the sewing section also have to work standing up for a long time. According to occupational physicians, low back pain, sore feet, varicose veins, swelling in the legs, general muscular fatigue and other health problems have been associated with prolonged standing (Carson, 1994). Results of the study showed that the most frequent illness reported by 20 percent female workers was headache. Gastritis was more prevalent among the female workers. About 3.33 percent suffered from gastritis problem. In general, 33.33 percent workers suffered from some kind of weakness. This occurred due to long hours of work and low quality of food that they took for lunch.
5.15 Labor union facilities
Facilities of labor union| Frequency| Percentage|
No union| 85| 56.67|
Prohibited by owner| 9| 6|
Manage top leaders| 54| 36|
others| 2| 1.33|
Total| 150| 100|
According to section 176 of the Bangladesh Labor Act 2006, workers, without distinction whatsoever, shall have the right to form trade or labor union primarily for the purpose of regulating the relations between workers and employers or workers and workers and, subject to the constitution of the union concerned, to join trade union of their own choosing. The survey reveals that 56.67 percent of the female workers said that labor union did not exist in their factories because the owners and management were extremely averse to any types of unionization of their workforce; 36 percent of the workers reported that though trade union existed in their industries, the leaders of the union are managed by the authority; they do not work for the workers but only serve the interest of the owners of the garment factory. There are about 14 federations of factory workers unions in the country, but many of them are in name only and are not registered with the Directorate of Labor (Khan 2001). But it is also true that the garment workers are still, by and large, reluctant to join trade and labor unions (Mahmud 2009).
5.16 Medical allowance
Medical allowance| Frequency| Percentage|
No payment| 40| 26.67|
Paid as per document| 106| 70.67|
Onetime payment| 3| 2|
others| 1| 0.66|
Total| 150| 100|
One of the basic needs of the human being is medical allowances from the employer but it is very unfortunate that 26.67 percent of the surveyed female workers get nothing from their employers for medications if they make any accident or become sick. According to the BLA 2006, in every
establishment wherein three hundred or more workers are ordinarily employed, there shall be provided and maintained a sick room with dispensary of the prescribed size, containing the prescribed equipment or similar facilities, in the charge of such medical nursing staff as may be prescribed. 5.17 Causal leave
Duration of causal leave(in days)| Frequency| Percentage| 0-5| 85| 56.67|
6-10| 35| 23.33|
11-15| 30| 20|
Total| 150| 100|
According to BLA of 2006, every worker shall be entitled to enjoy casual leave with full wages for ten days in a calendar year. The study reveals that about 56.67 percent of the workers enjoy any casual leave with pay for 0-5 days and more than 23.33 percent of the workers get less than 10 days of casual leave per year. In some cases the workers are bound to work even they are sick. The absence of leave facilities is another factor that makes the terms and conditions of garment employment very stringent.
5.18 Maternity benefit
Duration of maternity leave| Frequency| Percentage|
No leave| 25| 16.67|
1 month| 70| 46.67|
2 months| 36| 24|
3 months| 12| 8|
4 months| 7| 4.66|
Total| 150| 100|
Maternity leave is a basic and humanitarian right of the female garment workers but all the garments factories are not giving maternity leave to their workers with pay. According to Maternity Benefit Act 1950, the maternity leave was of 12 weeks. The new BLA 2006 increases the maternity leaves to 16 weeks from 12 weeks and the maternity benefit which is payable under section 48 of this act shall be payable at the rate of daily, weekly
or monthly average wages and such payment shall be made wholly in cash. There are many worker are mother. So had to need maternity leave from giving birth to rear the born baby, but very disappoint that most of the mother did not get that even allowance, here indicate the percentage is 16.67. other side, maximum percentage is 46.67 declares 1 month leave whereas only 4.66 percent lucky because they got 4 months leave. 5.19 Transport facilities
Transport facilities| Frequency| Percentage|
No facility| 116| 77.33|
One way| 0| 0|
Both way| 0| 0|
Transport allowance| 34| 22.67|
Others| 0| 0|
Total| 150| 100|
Workers come to the industries from different locations due to non-availability of the dwelling houses near to their factories. Zohir and Paul–Majumder (1996) show that living in a factory accommodation is the most secure housing system. The study reveals that 77.33 percent of the female workers not avail any transport facility, while 37.75 percent are provided with transport allowance. Majumder and Khatun (1997) found that 70 percent of the female garments workers traveled by bus experienced bad behavior by conductors and drivers; hence, the workers are willing to pay more for safe and secure transport facilities.
5.20 Welfare facilities
Welfare facilities| Frequency| Percentage|
Toilet/safe drink| 65| 43.33|
Child care| 12| 8|
canteen| 17| 11.33|
Rest room| 17| 11.33|
Fire protection| 39| 26|
Total| 10| 100|
Welfare facilities are the supporting issues of environment in the factory and also for refreshment of worker mind. For better safety these issues is
so much needed but there are many worker do not get all types of facilities. There is a very strange that, some factory provide water through mineral bottle but actually not pure. Child care centre, canteen, rest room all others facilities is shown when the foreign buyer is come and after that these not existed.
5.21 Application of law
Application of law| frequency| percentage|
Don’t know| 77| 51.33|
No application| 10| 6.67|
Few application| 54| 36|
Good application| 9| 6|
Total| 150| 100|
The Bangladesh Labor Act, 2006, Factories Act of 1965 and the Factories Rules of 1979 all provide protection to labor force. Of the surveyed female workers, 51.33 percent reported that they do not know about the application of labor laws in their garments, while 6.67percent of the workers reported that there is no and 36 percent little application of the laws where only 6 percent good application in their garment industries. Since existing labor legislation assumes a predominantly male workforce, it is often at a loss to deal with the specific needs and concerns of an overwhelmingly female and unskilled workforce employed in garment manufacturing industries (Mahmud 2009).
5.22 Earning satisfaction
Earning satisfaction| Frequency| Percentage|
Very bad| 9| 6|
Bad| 17| 11.33|
Neutral| 78| 52|
Good| 41| 27.33|
Very good| 5| 3.34|
Total| 150| 100|
Doing work for hour to hour workers not get actual or proper salary. Though they not get proper salary so their expectation is fall down and create sad.
That’s why here 17.33 percent are dissatisfied whereas 52 percent are neutral because their expectation was not so high, they think that medium level of life is so good. But happily said that 27.33 percent are happy.
5.23 Satisfaction towards job
Job satisfaction| Frequency| Percentage|
Very bad| 10| 6.67|
Bad| 16| 10.67|
Neutral| 79| 2.67|
Good| 40| 26.66|
Very good| 5| 3.33|
Total| 150| 100|
Degree of satisfaction of a worker is a subjective judgment. So the level of satisfaction has been measured by scaling into five categories such as very bad, bad, neutral, good and very good. It is observed that the satisfaction level of the female garment workers towards earnings and overall jobs is in, rated average, as good. But it does not mean that they are earning more because 4.67 percent of the female workers get Tk. 5,000 or less per month in total. As per the survey, 26.67 percent of the female workers are satisfied with their earnings and 17.34 percent are dissatisfied. More satisfaction of the female workers may be derived from their realization that they could be unemployed and what they are getting is good for them, or from their awareness of their education, job experience, and socioeconomic conditions of the country. It is motivating factor for the survival and stability of garment workers in Bangladesh.
5.24 Cross tabulation between of health and wage category
Health problem| Wage category| Total|
| 1 2| |
No problem| 1(2%)| 4(4%)| 5|
Headache| 15(30%)| 15(15%)| 30|
Muscle pain| 12(24%)| 8(8%)| 20|
Physical weakness| 10(20%)| 40(40%)| 50|
Eye pain| 3(6%)| 7(7%)| 10|
Back pain| 2(4%)| 10(10%)| 12|
diarrhoea| 3(6%)| 5(5%)| 8|
Skin disease| 2(4%)| 3(3%)| 5|
Typhoid| 1(2%)| 4(4%)| 5|
Gastric| 1(2%)| 4(4%)| 5|
Total| 50| 100| 150|
Here category 1(1000-2000) and category 2(above 2000) taka
Through this cross tabulation try to show the relationship between health problem and wage category, specifically said that what category people faced what problems. According this report it is seen that category is made depending on their salary and also indicating that worker faced different types of health problem. Here in category 1 most of the worker faced headache that is 30 percent. That also indicate that low salary determine the low residential area, so after the noisy place of factory they does not get silence mode that’s why headache is main. They also feel muscle pain what is 24 percent. In category 2 most of the worker faced different types of physical weakness that is 40 percent also back pain that is 10 percent etc. so the relationship that good salary helps to eat good food, good living place, good medicinal support and so on, so the good salary holder faced lowest problem on the other hand low salary holder faced more health hazards.
5.25 Cross tabulation between age and harassment
Health problem| Residence of worker| slum| Total | | Brick builtsemi slum | | |
No problem| 3(12%)| 1(2.86%)| 1(1.11%)| 5|
Headache| 8(32%)| 6(17.14%)| 16(17.78%)| 30|
Muscle pain| 3(12%)| 5(14.29%)| 12(13.33%)| 20|
Physical weakness| 5(20%)| 10(28.57%)| 35(38.89%)| 50| Eye pain| 2(8%)| 3(8.57%)| 5(5.56%)| 10|
Back pain| 2(8%)| 3(8.57%)| 7(7.78%)| 12|
diarrhoea| 1(4%)| 3(8.57%)| 4(4.44%)| 8|
Skin disease| 0(0%)| 1(2.86%)| 4(4.44%)| 5|
Typhoid| 0(0%)| 2(5.71%)| 3(3.33%)| 5|
Gastric| 1(4%)| 1(2.86%)| 3(3.33%)| 5|
Total| 25| 35| 90| 150|
Through this table try to show the relationship between health hazards and residential area, that means is living place is responsible of health problem? From this table, most of the worker lives in three places are building area, semi slum and slum area. Who are living in building home they mostly faced headache at least 20 percent. Who are living in the semi slum area they face physical weakness at 28.57 percent and in slum are 38.89 percent faced same health problem. This shows that living environment is so much responsible of weakness because lowest level of living place create highest level of weakness.
5.26 Cross tabulation between age and harassment
Age| Harassment| | | No harassment| physical| mental| sexual| others| Total | | Upto -20| 0(0%)| 20(57.14%)| 27(32.53%)| 8(34.78%)| 2(22.22%)| 57| 21-30| 0(0%)| 12(34.29%)| 36(43.37%)| 13(56.52%)| 2(22.22%)| 63| 31-40| 0(0%)| 2(5.71%)| 17(20.48%)| 2(8.70%)| 5(55.56%)| 26| Above-40| 0(0%)| 1(2.86%)| 3(3.61%)| 0(0%)| 0(0%)| 4| Total| 0| 35| 83| 23| 9| 150|
Findings of the study
Finding of the qualitative study
6.1 Case studies
Case study -01
She is 19 years old. she is class viii passed. Due to child marriage has two Childs those are reared in village in her mother. Last month her
husband had died, so her life is so critical. Now she is the only one earning member of her family. Her salary is 1700 taka as a new worker. So there is a question how she lead life? She can with the overtime earning what is given in double scale with the range of basic salary. So she is bound to work in overtime. Then at least she gets 7000 taka to lead life. There is a strange is that she does not know about labor rights only about labor union though she not member of that. Every day she passes 12 hours in factory from 7am to 7pm. At 1pm to 2pm get time to launch and rest. She does not know law. During working hour she faces many problems, such as health hazards, mental problems and so on. For example is that normally the super visor used slang language, due to huge sound headache is common , on the other hand though drink from mineral bottle but not know where comes from. She does not know what should do in firing. She doing here only for money to feed her baby so need not know others necessary. Basic needs bound her to far from awareness and relating laws application because she thinks revolution does not come money. Case study-02
She is 16 years old. She was secondary school going girl. Her family member is 9.she has three school going brothers. She is the second child. Her brother got married and separated from their. Due to poverty she is bound to get job and stop education. She got the garment job almost six months. She got the job as the basic salary is 1500 taka only. She lives in slum area. Her salary is not sufficient to lead only her life. So she does extra time to get more money. At least she got 6500 taka and she spends 3600 taka and gives father left amount. In the factory she gets not extra facilities without launch hour. She does not know about labor rights and does not hear ILO. So she not familiar with rights and not know she is treated as child virtue of her age and child appointment is a crime. She does not know what she deserves. Being staying in the dark area continuously working here. She primarily faced health problem is back pain. She also faced insecure in her job because the salary is not sufficient and also faced further problems. She does not get medical allowance; welfare allowance only will get insurance money in case of her death. Though not know about rights then not know what types of law is applied in the factory. In the speech of her if government take initiatives then owner groups are reformed and they get
right to lead a normal life.
She is the first child of her family. Her one brother and one sister are school going child. She is 18 years old. She and her mother are garment workers her father had died last year. Her mother and she get almost 15000 taka in a month. But in the town area this money is not sufficient to lead a family. Her mother does not more time because headache and back pain is so acute. So over time is must for her. Her mother and she not work same factory. She gets medium facilities but her mother not get. She also get medical allowance and will get insurance money and so on facilities. But she does not know further extra rights such as welfare allowance, car facilities and finally labor rights. so she not aware about the application of the law. Though two members earn but not lead happy life because of illness as the result of factory environment and low salary.
She is the mother of the one child. She is 23 years old. Her baby and her husband live in village she only works here that means factory. She is s.s.c passed. Her husband send her for earn money what is given as dowry money. She earns 7600 taka per month. Due to education she also know about their rights and she also member of the labor union. But union does not act further due to the owner groups pressures. She is most victimized girl because in the pregnancy she did not get medical allowance and pregnancy leave was only one weak. For this reason she faced health hazards like back pain, bally pain, so on problems and her baby also weak. In the speech of her if every worker up their hands then owner groups become as a man and express humanity. Case study -05
She is 38 years old. She has one child and she is divorced. Her divorced is the cause of entering the job. She read only class six. Her father is also poor. She was the second wife that’s why she got divorced with the pressure of first wife and social rules. Then for lead life she joined this job. In this factory she passed last one year that means almost old worker. Her basic salary is 2000 taka. Due to over time at last of the month she get
almost 5500 taka. After her cost left taka send to her father for bearing her child. During the working place she faces many problems both physical and mental. Physical means headache, appetite, pain and so on. But mostly she feels back pain and physical weakness. In this factory she does not get extra facilities such as welfare and medical. During accident the cost of medical is cut from salary and sometimes from insurance money. Sometimes not gets pure water what is the responsibility of factory owner. Most important that, she does not know about the law and also its application. She thinks have to be initiatives of both govt. and workers to solve this problem. Discussion of the findings
From the case study there some important information is gathered which is supportive to quantitative data or information. Through the information it is known that, most of the respondents at least 80% are young there 1 is teenage and 1 is above 35 years that means 20%. Here indicated that 60 percent are secondary 20 percent are higher secondary or school passed and 20 percent are can sign only. In this study all respondents are muslim. Most of the respondents belong the basic salary is 1000-2000 taka. All respondents do overtime for 3 to 5 hours per day to get extra money and to lead life properly. About 80 percent respondents do not know law and its application. Most of the respondents faced different types of health and situational problems and so on relating. They do not aware of their rights and its necessities. But there is a hope that 20 percent are the labor union member. They blame the govt. and neglect the owner attitude. As the recommendation all said that, the initiatives have to be taken and also labor union should be opened and plasticized. Chapter Eight
Recommendations and Conclusion
The study recommends the following to protect the interest of the female workers and to save them from harassment: a) In maximum cases, the amount of salaries paid to the female workers and the date of payment of salaries negatively affects the life standard of the female workers and creates dissatisfaction among the workers. Therefore, the Government, BGMEA and
owners of the garment industries should take initiative to provide reasonable and standard amount of salaries as per their position and services just at the end of the month or within the 5th day of the next month. b) Long working hours due to working at more regular and overtime hours create many problems for the female workers at their families. If salaries and remuneration are increased up to a level of standard, then the intention of doing more overtime can be reduced and thus the length of working hours can be minimized; as a result, more employment facilities will be created in the garment industries for female workers. c) Job environment is to be made more hygienic and safe for the female workers and compliance report may be sought for sustainable development of the industries. The owners or the management may arrange day care center, school, etc. for the children of the female workers at the factory premises. d) Accommodation and transportation facilities are very acute for the female workers of the garment industries. Therefore, housing and transportation facilities (both way) are to be arranged by the garment industries. e) Educational level of the female garment workers is very low; they work at lower positions due to this their productivity is poor. Hence, they get poor salaries and they cannot claim for more. If the educational level of the workers can be developed then their productivity will increase and they will be able to perform better and earn more. For educational development, the garment owners should establish educational institutes and training centers to make them educated about different rules and regulations as well as make them aware of their responsibilities. f) Due to long working hours at the unhygienic job environment, the female workers fall sick frequently. They get no or very poor support from their industries in this regard. Garment industries should set up medical center or at least appoint minimum number of medical officers or female doctors, especially for the female workers. g) Torture and different types of harassment are very common in the garment industries; in some cases these tortures cause deaths of the workers during office time. Female officers may be appointed or the male officers may be given sufficient training to reduce torture and harassment towards female workers. h) Activation or introduction of labor union as bargaining authority in real sense is to be ensured in each garment industry to communicate the claims of the workers to the higher authority and the
message from the higher authority to the workers. Female representative is to be ensured in the leadership of the union. i) Though Bangladesh has enacted Labor Law (Act) to ensure the rights and obligations of the female workers in the garment industries but the provisions of the labor law are far from implementation. Basically, the management of the garment industries is frequently violating the law. Therefore, government and BGMEA should be aware of the violation of the law against the poor female garment workers.
The garment sector in Bangladesh contributes more than 70 percent of the national income and 80 percent of the garment workers are female. Due to participation in this income generating sector their life and status in the society got upgraded. However, largely, the condition of female garment workers is very frustrating. Women workers face various crises in the RMG sector. The print media had written many reports and the TV channels had aired many pathetic stories on their low wages, unfriendly working environment, health issues, nutrition, insurance, etc. but feeble measures have been taken so far to address these problems. Overall, these problems are hampering the production and environment of the RMG sector and if these obstacles are not removed, the sector may be affected more and more in the coming days. Last but not the least, the poor female garment workers, who are the major workforce behind this sector, must be recognized properly and concrete ideas and their implementation should come to lessen the plight of them. Unless and until the basic rights of the poor female garment workers are ensured, it may not be expected that this sector will achieve its desired goal. If the recommended measures are implemented in the RMG sector then it may improve the present situation and the workers and owners may achieve their goal.
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9. M. Monjur Morshed(2007) A study on labor rights implementation in readymade garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh: Bridging the gap between theory and Practice, University of Wollongong.
10. Paul- Majumder, P., and A. Begom. 2000. ‘The Gender Imbalances in the
Export Garment Industry in Bangladesh: Policy Research Report on Gender and Development’. Washington, DC: World Bank.
11. Pratima Paul-Majumder and Anowara Begum (2006). Engendering garment Industry: The Bangladesh Context. Dhaka: The University Press Limited.
12. Rogers, William. (2010)Fire Kills Garment Workers: Workers Protest Low Wages. The working conditions and wages of workers in the Bangladesh.. leftlaborreporter.wordpress.com/2010/…
13. Siddiqi, G. Hafiz (2005). The Readymade Industry of Bangladesh, (Second Edition). Dhaka, Bangladesh: The University Press Limited.
Appendix A: Questionnaire
1. Age of respondents:
a. Upto-20 b. 21-30 c. 31-40
2. Marital status of the respondents:
a. Unmarried b. married c. divorced d. widow e. others 3. Family members of the respondents: a. 2 b. 3 c. 4 d. 5 e. above 5 4. Earning members of the family: a. 2. B. 3 c. 4
5. Education level of the respondents: a. Illiterate b. can sign only c. class I-IV d. class VI-X e. above class X 6. Religion of the respondents: a.muslim b. hindu c.christian dbuddu e. others 7. Residence area of respondents: a. brick built b. semi slum c. slum 8. Have any child: a.yes b.no
9. Number of child: a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 e.5
10. Cause of joining: a. poverty b. divorced c. orphan d. others 11. Passing time of joining: a. I month b. six months c.1 year d. above 1 year. 12. Type of work:
13. Type of workplace: a.good b. bad c. neutral
14. Working hours in factory: a. Less than 8 b. 9-10 c. 11-12 d.12-13 e. above 13 15. Any overtime: a.yes b.no
16. Overtime of works(hours) : a. 5 b.6 c.7 d.8 17. Over
time payment: a. on hours b. on basic
18. Basic Salary (Tk.) Structure per month: a. below 500 b. 500-1000 c.1001-1500 d.1501-2000 e. above 2000. 19. Total Salary Structure per month: a. 1000-2000 b. 2001-3000 c.3001-4000 d. 4001-5000 e. above 5000 20. Modes of Salary payment( in days): a. 25th – last day b. 1st -10th c. 10th-15th d.after 15th 21. Have any bonus: a. yes b.no
22. Bonus Structure of respondents: a. regular attendance b. festival c. better performance d. profit e. others 23. Job Environment of Female Workers: a. very bad b. bad c. neutral d. good e. very good. 24. Faced any harassment: a.yes b. no
25. Nature of Harassment/Torture: a. no harassment b. physical c. sexual d. mental e. others 26. Do you get causal leave : a. yes b. no 27. Duration of causal leave( in days): a.0-5 b. 6-10 c. 11-20 28. Duration of Maternity leave of respondents: a. no leave b. 1 month c. 2 months d. 3 months e. 4 months 29. Payment Structure of Maternity leave of respondents: a. no payment b. regular salary c. paid as per document d. onetime payment e. others 30. Any medical allowance: a. yes b.no
31. Medical Allowance System of respondents: a. no payment b. paid per medical document c. onetime payment 32. Transport facility : a. no facility b. one way c. both way d. transport allowance e. others 33. Problems faced by women workers outside and inside the garment factory: 34. Type of diseases and illnesses:
35. Access to rest , toilet and safe drinking water: a. yes b. no 36. Time of rest(hour): a.1/2 b.1 c.2
37. Do you feel that you have job security: a. yes b. no 38. What is the impact of harassment on the work:
39. Do you get welfare facilities: a. yes b. no
40. Types of welfare facilities: a. safe drink b.baby care centre c. fire protection d.canteen e. rest room d. others
41. Facilities of Labor Union: a. yes b. no
42. Satisfaction towards Earning: a. very bad b.bad c.neutral d.good e. very good 43. Satisfaction towards job: a. very bad b. bad c.neutral d.good e.very good 44. Application of relating Labor law: a. don’t know b. no application c. few application d. good application e. very good application 45. What is the major problem relating in working conditions: a. economical b. social c.occupational 46. What do you think about remedial measures:
Appendix B: Check list on case study
1. Socio demographic characteristics
2.1 Age: a.upto-20 b. 21-25 c.26-30
2.4 Family member:
2.5 Earning member:
2.6 Marital status:
2.7 Number of child:
2. Knowledge about their rights or what they deserve:
3. Nature of the working conditions:
4.9 Types of problems:
4.10 Types of harassment:
4. Sense of awareness about this and application of law:
5. What types of recommendation should be applied:
Appendix C: List of the garments factory
1. Sardar apperals ltd.
2. Trans composite ltd.
3. Lumen text ltd.
4. Naxpie composite textile ltd.
5. Hasin knitware ltd.