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Living up to the promise

  • Published at 12:01 am June 3rd, 2019

RMG companies need to be more transparent when it comes to ensuring living wages for their workers

Since the Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013, Bangladesh has made great strides to ensure that worker safety is a priority and that the promise of being paid a living wage becomes a reality.

But for this to be successful, all stakeholders must play a part, from the buyers to the customers. 

Unfortunately, a recent study has shown that, while garment companies have, in fact, made ambitious commitments towards providing workers with the environment and payment they deserve, in terms of actual practical output, they have fallen disappointingly short. 

According to experts at the Asia Floor Wage Alliance, a living wage would allow workers to bear the expenses of rent, health care, clothing, transportation, and education, not just for themselves, but also for their families, in addition to having an amount left over for savings. 

But the truth of the matter is that low wages remain the status quo within the industry. 

While we understand that this has become increasingly difficult in a highly competitive global market, we must remember that such commitments must be made across nations and governments, and not merely amongst isolated institutions. 

Unless and until governments and companies pro-actively implement certain standards across the board, and follow through on their commitments, the continued oppression of the workers will not be eliminated. 

RMG companies need to be more transparent when it comes to ensuring living wages for their workers -- on the same breath, foreign buyers cannot merely hide behind promises which do not translate into real world progress for our workers. 

Moving forward, stakeholders must adopt existing benchmarks and provide a clear plan with regards to how they will achieve living wages at every tier of the production process.