Workers in Bangladesh RMG industry work under abusive situation, which has further worsened in 2016 compared to that of three years back, states the report titled ‘The Workers’ Voice Report 2016 – The Working Conditions in Bangladesh’s RMG Industry after Rana Plaza’ by Awaj Foundation, a local NGO, and Hong Kong-based Consulting Service International Ltd.
The report revealed that about 91 per cent of the 1,007 workers surveyed in 333 textile and garment factories, irrespective of their gender, faced abuses in the RMG units sometimes or often in comparison to 61 per cent in 2013. About 40 per cent said they had never seen or heard about any abuses in their factories.
Most of the abused workers suffered offensive behaviour on a regular basis. Factory managers and line supervisors were reported to verbally intimidate and pressurize workers to complete orders by using foul language and scolding, including sexual insinuation. Some 11 per cent of the surveyed workers complained to their respective administrators, 8 per cent of the respondents protested the abusive behaviour, while 0.5 per cent attempted to resign.
Shockingly, as highlighted by the report, the overwhelming majority of 67 per cent remained silent, as they were afraid of negative reactions by the accused and the factory management.
It also showed that the factory authorities denied to allow the workers maternity and sick leaves, and delayed their payment or did not give due wages at all. Some 7.6 per cent of the workers earned less than the legally-set minimum wage of BDT 5,300, excluding overtime.
The report recommended creating a supportive environment for women, introducing respect and dignity in the factory, and setting up complaint mechanisms, such as – anti-harassment committees and violence prevention systems, to eliminate harassment and violence against all workers.
However, fully disagreeing with the report, Md Siddiqur Rahman, President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said, “The working condition in the RMG sector has significantly improved in last three years. The rate of abusive behaviour with the workers is insignificant in the sector.”