Red Marriott

Highs and lows of a wage rise - the new garment minimum wage

Garment worker

The Bangladeshi minimum wage board has, after long negotiations, announced a 76% increase in garment workers’ pay, applicable to all seven pay grades. This has quickly been hailed as a great victory by some observers. We’ll go into the details to show that it’s not the result the workers continue to demand and that any gains may not be long-lasting.

The minimum wage increase being granted at this time is a result of particular circumstances. The past year has seen both the Tazreen fire and the Rana Plaza building collapse, bringing the combined deaths of over 1200 workers.

Who can ride the garment tiger?

On Saturday September 21st there began a 10 day mass agitation by Bangladeshi Ready Made Garment(RMG) workers demanding a 170% increase in their minimum wage.

The reforms announced by government and industry in the aftermath of the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza disasters[1] included a review of the minimum wage for garment workers. The wage was last raised in 2010 while the cost of living has risen 2.5 times. Workers struggle to survive and many are malnutritious.

The legacy of the dead - the Savar collapse, part 2

A woman, Shefali, learns of the discovery of her sister's corpse.

The site of the Dhaka factory collapse is now cleared; new concessions and reforms are announced. Some further reflections...

1127 corpses; unionisation on the horizon

The House of Cards - the Savar building collapse

The latest human disaster in the Bangladeshi garment industry - a poorly constructed factory building collapses...

Death-trapped in a burning cage - the Ashulia inferno

Comments on the horrific fire of Saturday 24th November 2012 that swept through a Bangladeshi garment factory.

Another fire in a Bangladeshi garment factory, over 120 lives lost and more than a hundred injured - the only difference this time from the many other factory fires in the past 30 years is the scale of the deaths and human suffering. It is this that makes it 'worthy' of comment, for a brief moment, in the international media.

Return to work at Ashulia

Garment workers resume work with issues unresolved...

Thursday 21st June 2012, Ashulia, Dhaka; after a week of intense struggles for higher wages, followed by a 4-day lockout of half a million workers (see earlier article[1]), 350 factories in the industrial zone come to life again.

Resistance is high; garment workers force shutdown in 350 factories

Ashulia barricade - June 2012

The resurgence of unrest in the Bangladeshi garment sector continues with over 500,000 workers now locked out in Ashulia...

The main costs of living for garment workers are food and rent; both are rising much faster than wages. The overall inflation level is around 10%. So workers are demanding pay increases of up to 50% and are calling for rent controls to be implemented.

Return of the repressed; new days of rage for garment workers - and the disappeared...

Ashulia factory fired - May 2012

After a long period of relative quiet, workers are again taking mass action in the Bangladeshi garment industry. Also; some comments on the recent wave of political 'disappearances'.

Since the deployment of the new Industrial Police Force (IPF) in 2010 struggles had been much reduced by the IP's innovative tactics(1). But recent events in Dhaka's industrial suburb of Ashulia and elsewhere suggest that workers' anger, solidarity, willingness to struggle and sheer weight of numbers can't be contained indefinitely.

Last Orders For The Local?

Inspired by the destruction of most of the best pubs in our locality and the increasing difficulty in finding a pub with a bearable atmosphere to enjoy a drink in, Last Orders For The Local? casts a critical eye over recent changes to pub environments and the emergence of Theming as a marketing factor in various fields of leisure and consumption; and ponders how this connects to the balance of class forces and changes in the way we relate to history and memory.