April 25, 2013

Made in Bangladesh

Collapsed building in Bangladesh

Collapsed building in Bangladesh

Next time you see a cheap dress or pair of jeans or a T-shirt “made in Bangladesh” in a Western chain store, like Primark, Bonmarche, Wal-Mart, Mango, Benetton, The Children’s Place or Dress Barn, for instance,  think for a moment in some 200 dead people and 1,000 injured in a building collapse in Dhaka. Think in dozen of workers killed months ago in a fire in other building without security conditions. Think in thousands of garment factory workers going every day to their job in conditions that in Europe and the US would be illegal. This is why some garments are so cheap.

According to several sources, the building, housing five garment factories was unstable but the workers had to go in any way despite their protests because the managers wouldn’t listen to them. Then suddenly, collapsed with 2.000 people inside.

According to AlJazeera,  “among the garment makers in the building were Phantom Apparels, Phantom Tac, Ether Tex, New Wave Style and New Wave Bottoms.  Altogether, they produced several million shirts, pants and other garments a year.The New Wave companies, according to their website, make clothing for major brands including North American retailers The Children’s Place and Dress Barn, Britain’s Primark, Spain’s Mango and Italy’s Benetton.Ether Tex said Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, was one of its customers”.

The practice to move the manufacturing of garments to poor countries is good for the pockets of the consumers in the rich Western countries and the benefits of the companies, but it comes with an unknown greatest price: human lives at risk, inhuman conditions at work sometimes even child work. Many say that there is a way to employ people who doesn’t have anything in those poor countries, but this doesn’t mean to do it at any cost as a modern slavery or at least going back with them two centuries back in human rights just because they are poor and accept everything. Logic says that with the jobs from the western companies have to come the achievements of the western world for the workers. But then, maybe won’t be so cheap or so profitable.

About Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.

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Asia, Ethics, Ideals, Justice, World and Politics

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