Fast fashion: Why 10 years after Rana Plaza, are the lives of garment workers still threatened? Fast fashion is the ever-evolving need to get the latest in beauty at bargain prices – your club-ready outfit, status symbol shoes, or must-have shirt you just bought at a shopping mall.
But this cheap piece comes with a price tag. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, after the oil and gas sector. It is also notoriously unfair to its workers, the majority of whom are women. While there’s been a lot of talk about women’s empowerment. The reality is that most women who work hard in factories live in poverty for most of their lives. A decade ago, this month, much of the attention was focused on the global apparel industry when a cluster of garment factories collapsed at Rana Plaza near Dhaka, Bangladesh. The accident, described by unions in Bangladesh as a “mass industrial murder”, left 1,124 dead and at least 2,500 injured.
Most of the people who went to work that day were young women. Almost all of them were supporting their families with their wages, and all were at the bottom of the global production chain.
Don’t Call Me Resilient
This week, in Don’t Call Me Resilient, we look back at the Rana Plaza disaster to discover how — or how much — conditions for garment workers have changed since then.
This industry has the act of “killing people with disregard for human life”. This is what the guest of this episode, Minh-Ha Pham, said. She’s an associate professor of media studies at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and the author of Why We Can’t Have Good Things.
Joining us is Dina Siddiqi, a feminist anthropologist and labor expert in Bangladesh’s garment factories. She is an associate professor at New York University.
Murder despises life
Collapsed buildings at Rana Plaza showed signs of cracking the previous day. When the other tenants of the building – banks and shops – sent their workers home. Garment factory managers asked their employees to come to work to meet their relentless deadlines. garment manufacturing process. Ten years ago, as today, Siddiqi says garment workers are faced with impossible choices:
About five million people in Bangladesh work to produce clothing for hundreds of major international brands, including Zara, H&M, and GAP. It is the second largest clothing manufacturer in the world and has the lowest wages.
Garment factories also exist in the northern countries. Last week, the US Department of Labor released a report on garment workers in Los Angeles that said some were paid as little as $1.58 an hour.
Enterprise solutions are not enough
While many companies have now signed up to the Bangladesh Agreement in an effort to make things safer, Minh-Ha Pham said the agreement has a narrow definition of worker safety. Emphasis on the structural integrity of buildings and corporate responsibility. But Pham said:
The focus on business-led solutions, such as agreements, allows apparel brands to appear socially responsible despite the realities that are taking place. Pham said that without oversight or regulation, these types of initiatives “make the brands buy these initiatives…beautiful. Consumers feel good about those brands.
Western Savior Complex
Social media campaigns to hold brands accountable to their employees have grown dramatically over the past decade.
Despite the goodwill, Pham said these campaigns – led mainly by those in the North – do not address the structural and systemic nature of exploitation inherent in the global apparel industry.
She says campaigns can really divert attention away from structural issues. “They made us feel like if we could fix this, everything else would be fine. It actually legitimizes the system because (it’s said) the system is basically right, but for A, B, and C, things we can fix.
And Siddiqi says that over the past 10 years, brands have actually paid Bangladeshi garment workers lower prices than ever to make the same product. “So brands are pressing Bangladesh at the same time to tell Bangladesh factory owners that they have to treat their workers better.”
Siddiqi and Pham
Siddiqi and Pham are also careful not to think that this is only a Bangladesh problem. They say racist assumptions regard countries in the South as inherently corrupt and “outdated”. But these notions overshadow the exploitation and protest of racist and sexist workers in the West, in places like Los Angeles.
Pham said “It’s easy to think about, you know, man, the people over there… They don’t care about humanity. They don’t care about security. [But] it happened in California.
For example, in 2020, Pham said, garment workers are “regarded as heroes because factories have switched to producing masks for a while while we wear cloth masks. But (workers) often come without health insurance, without safety procedures, and often without masks at risk of COVID, (working) in California, to get a set salary.
So what now?
Those who want to help reduce rampant exploitation in the global apparel industry must work to understand the system of intentionally opaque supply chains, the two researchers say. This includes learning about trademark contracts, international trade and employment law, and immigration and border policies. It also involves the necessary but difficult task of explicitly naming capitalism as a structural problem.
Finally, Pham and Siddiqi say that Western advocates must support collective actions initiated by workers themselves 카지노사이트.