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Where the problem lies

  • Published at 11:56 pm January 13th, 2019
workers
DHAKA TRIBUNE

International buyers need to start paying our factories more

A lot of the credit for Bangladesh’s current economic progress can, and should, be chalked up to our thriving readymade garments industry.

As the primary engine of our economic growth, it is important that the industry be given the adequate scope for growth, by both the public and private spheres.

Which is why the ongoing protests being waged by RMG workers is so disheartening -- not simply because of how their methods of protest have thus far been less than ideal, but mostly because it is adversely impacting an industry that we have relied on for so long to drive our economy forward.

There is no doubt that the men and women responsible for takingthe country forward through their hard work and craftsmanship need to be paid a decent wage, however the villains of the piece are not local manufacturers, but the foreign buyers.

Therefore, this kind of pressure exerted on local manufacturers is not only ruinous to the industry as a whole, as we are seeing, but it targets the wrong people, and as such is counter-productive and ultimately ill-advised.

The real problem is clear: International buyers need to start paying our factories more.

Bangladesh is the 2nd largest exporter of garments in the world, and for international buyers to still treat our industry like an amateur outfit, by paying us less than what we deserve, is a slap on the face of anyone who has worked to turn the industry into the well-oiled machine it is today.

While traditional negotiations are always an option of getting these buyers to start paying up, there are many other strategies that factory owners and industry leaders can take to publicly expose them.

Given that most of these buyers are from Western nations, launching public campaigns against them in their own countries is always a viable method to pressure them into paying us more. 

Our RMG industry is the result of years of hard work from both the public and private sectors. It has been the defining industry for our nation so far, and we must all work together to ensure that it continues to thrive.