New York Times Article on Labor Rights Situation in Bangladesh


August 24, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

We wanted to share with you the lead story in today’s New York Times, regarding the deteriorating labor rights situation in Bangladesh, a major producer of collegiate apparel. The article, for which the WRC was a source, is available here.

As explained in the article, Bangladesh is among the world’s lowest-cost producers, with garment workers earning less than $40 per month, and is the second largest exporter of apparel in the world, after China. Bangladesh’s low-cost economic strategy has developed in direct response to the relentless price pressure exerted by the global garment industry and this approach has had a devastating impact on workers’ rights. Workers in Bangladesh, who earn poverty wages that leave them struggling to support themselves and their families, face severe health and safety risks that have resulted in hundreds of preventable deaths, and are subject to violent police suppression when attempting to organize for improvements. Yet despite the country’s near total failure to achieve compliance with even basic labor standards, orders continue to grow.

Although some brands and retailers have publicly expressed concern, it is clear that as long as orders flow unabated, the local industry and government have no incentive to change. Following a late July meeting with twelve major brands and retailers, the country’s labor minister, Khandker Mosharraf, expressed that he had “no reason to be worried” and told reporters that brands were not canceling orders in response to worsening conditions and increasing unrest.

The situation for garment workers in Bangladesh has and will continue to be a key area of focus for the WRC’s labor rights work, including our current efforts to secure agreement from major brands for a robust program of action on fire safety.



Scott Nova 
Worker Rights Consortium 
5 Thomas Circle NW 
Washington DC 20005 
ph 202 387 4884 
fax 202 387 3292 
[email protected]