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Brands should pay more for clothing, says BGMEA

Human Rights Watch, in its new report, says violations of garment workers’ rights including damning allegations of illegal anti-union tactics by managers, assaults on union organisers, and the failure of efforts to properly compensate victims of the Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashions fire continue in Bangladesh. More than 160 workers from 44 factories, most of which make garments for reputed brands in North America, Europe and Australia, were interviewed for the report. Worker right violations were a problem in nearly all factories examined, with specific violations documented including physical abuse, verbal abuse (sometimes of a sexual nature), forced overtime, denial of paid maternity leave, failure to pay wages and bonuses on time or in full, pressures on workers not to use the toilet, and the provision of dirty drinking water.


Issues such as why recent government reforms and company interventions have not been sufficient to remedy the problems were also examined. The report concludes with recommendations on what can be done to ensure enhanced respect for workers’ rights in Bangladesh. Bangladesh government should carry out effective and impartial investigations into all workers’ allegations of mistreatment, including beatings, threats, and other abuses and prosecute those responsible, suggests the report.


Researchers also argue that the Bangladesh government should revise labour laws in line with international standards. The NGO suggests brands sourcing from Bangladesh should institute regular factory inspections to ensure that factories comply with companies’ codes of conduct and the Bangladesh Labour Law.


“Human Rights Watch wrote to a number of brands. Some, like C&A, accept that audits can only go so far in improving factory working conditions. C&A says it believes that most of the challenges faced by the ready-made garment industry are a consequence of the difficulties in ensuring proper collective bargaining processes,” the report says.








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