In this paper, I will write a critical response to Doug Saunders’ “Are garment workers’ deaths on our hands? No”. As described in this reading that under what circumstances people are working in poor countries like Bangladesh. And just because of irresponsible behaviour of the firm owner’s, workers of companies died. It gave example of very sad incident that took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh recently. In this incident, just because of lack of responsibility of the owner, eight story complex collapsed. And caused more than 300 causalities any led many people to disability. Now the question that comes up into our mind that if I am wearing some brand like Joe Fish, whose cloths were under process in that firm (outskirt) of Dhaka, should I believe that I have hundreds of deaths on my hands? What I think is, No, if I am wearing some brand or some cloths and in the production process if any mishap occurs, it is not because of me. It is because of the owner of the firm who didn’t pay any attention to the security cautions and let the collapse happen.
Cloths are one of the basic need of every human being, we cannot stay naked. So I cannot blame myself for any mishap happens. This is the responsibility of the care takers of the firms to take care of their people and their firm properly. In a country like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mexico where people earn their livelihood in this way only, you cannot force them to raise their standards and protest against the system to increase their wages. People of such countries don’t have any alternative to go with. So they don’t take risk because they don’t want to suffer from hunger. And this is the way they can make their links with developed countries like America, and empower themselves.
We shouldn’t forget our own experience too. We should remember the “The Triangle Fire” accident. Though it changed the shape of North American cities and ensure implementation of fire-escape stairs and sprinklers. But unfortunately we didn’t see much change in the state of Bangladesh after that incident. But still, there’s good reason to hope for a similar transformation in Bangladesh – especially if consumers demand high standards from their brands, as they have done with considerable success in China.
Due to poverty, labor is very much cheap in Bangladesh. People work for many hours and get very little amount as wage. There is no rule in Bangladesh, laborers are being treated very unjustly. Because of cheap labor, people of Bangladesh are of serious attention to the buyers of other countries.
Bangladesh has boomed because workers and consumers have demanded higher standards from the world’s largest manufacturing district, China’s Pearl River region. As Chinese living standards have risen and internal rural to urban migrants there became less readily available, that region has raised its minimum wage by 5 per cent to 15 per cent every year for the past five years. Western companies no longer go to China because they want the cheapest labor those seeking the lowest prices have shifted to Bangladesh.
But if we see Bangladesh now, we can see that it is changing. Due to garment boom, people have shifted to cities from rural areas, because they also want to raise their living standards and reduce family sizes. This had a big effect on poverty and awareness level of people too, poverty has reduced sharply and awareness has increased to a good level. Changes to building codes, safety standards and hygiene are unlikely to happen unless pressure comes from outside.
Pressure from outside certainly work. We can see in 2010, Dhaka’s garment workers held huge protests and they won a historic minimum-wage increase of 80 per cent, to around $50 a month. And pressure from foreign companies like Wal-Mart has increased safety and working standards in factories that sell to West. Workers of Bangladesh should also be provided with good security and healthy wages. So that they can also grow as in our countries workers do.