imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles


View article without comments

Bangladesh Sweatshop Fire

by Stephen Lendman Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 at 11:40 PM
lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

class war

Bangladesh Sweatshop Fire

by Stephen Lendman

Corporate predators seek cheap labor worldwide. Countries like China, India, Honduras, Jordan, Haiti, and Bangladesh provide it.

Transnational giants are unaccountable. Global sweatshops supply them. Workers endure horrific conditions. Some work up to 90 or more hours weekly.

They're wage slaves. They earn sub-poverty pay. They're subjected to punishing harassment, beatings, sexual abuse, and rape.

According to the group Sweatshop Watch:

"A sweatshop is a workplace that violates the law and where workers are subject to:

• extreme exploitation, including the absence of a living wage or long hours;

• poor working conditions, such as health and safety hazards;

• arbitrary discipline, such as verbal or physical abuse, or

• fear and intimidation when they speak out, organize, or attempt to form a union."

Women are exploited. Around 90% of the workforce is female. Most are aged 15 - 25. Globalization also takes a heavy environmental toll.

It includes air pollution, ozone layer depletion, acid rain, ocean and fresh water contamination, and an overtaxed ecosystem. Unsafe living conditions exist worldwide.

Charles Kernaghan is a longtime worker rights advocate. He's executive director for the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights (IGLHR).

It "investigates and exposes human and labor rights abuses committed by (transnational) corporations producing goods in the developing world."

IGLHR described horrific conditions at Bangladesh's Ashulia district Tazreen Fashion Factory. Wages are some of the world's lowest.

Helpers earn 18 cents an hour ($8.44 a week for 48 hours).

Junior sewing operators earn 21 - 22 cents an hour ($9.85 - $10.69 a week).

Senior sewing operators earn 23 - 26 cents an hour ($11.26 - $12.66 a week).

Workweeks average 72 - 81 hours. Workers get two days off each month. They're cheated on wages. Overtime is mandatory. Complainers are fired. It's at regular pay. Half of it goes unpaid.

Physical abuse is commonplace. Supervisors curse, slap and punch female workers for sewing errors or staying in the bathroom too long.

Maternity leave is denied. So is sick leave. Workers arriving late three times for any reasons are automatically fired.

Workdays run from 8AM - 8PM. An hour for lunch is provided.

Tazreen was authorized to build a three-story factory. It built a nine-story facility. No one in government objected. Safety precautions were ignored. Few fire extinguishers were available. Small ones couldn't be contained. Major blazes assured disaster.

On November 24, fire began on Tazreen's ground floor. Upper floor workers were trapped. At least 112 died. Another 150 were injured. Containing the blaze took hours.

Fire department operations director Major Mohammad Mahbub said Tazreen's building had no escape exits.

"The factory had three staircases, and all of them were down through the ground floor," he said. "So the workers could not come out when the fire engulfed the building. Had there been at least one emergency exit through outside the factory, the casualties would have been much lower."

On November 26, The New York Times headlined "Garment Workers Stage Angry Protest After Bangladesh Fire," saying:

Thousands of workers were involved. Much of Ashulia was paralyzed. Roads were blocked. Many factories closed for a day. On Monday morning, fire broke out in a second garment facility. No casualties were reported.

Bangladesh officials blamed sabotage for both blazes. They lied. Criminal negligence was involved. Company and government officials bear full responsibility.

In 2010, a Hameen factory fire killed 29 workers. Many were locked in. Others jumped to their deaths. Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce head, AK Azad, blamed sabotage. He also lied. Investigations are never conducted.

Tuesday was an official day of mourning. Many workers demonstrated.

Some carried black flags. They blocked traffic and vowed revenge. One worker perhaps spoke for others, saying:

"Never shall we give up demands for punishment for those responsible for the tragedy."

A May 2011 audit rated Tazreen "high risk" on safety. The company operates death traps. It doesn't care if workers live or die. Profits alone matter.

Brutal exploitation and horrific working conditions maximize them. Other global sweatshops operate the same way.  

When Tazreen's fire alarm went off, supervisors blocked workers from leaving. Doors were locked. Some victims jumped to their deaths.

Tarzeen's fire was perhaps the worst industrial one in Bangladesh's history. Local labor leader Kalpona Akter toured the facility after the blaze was contained. Well-known labels were found.

"These international Western brands have a lot of responsibility for these fires," she said. "In this factory, there was a pile of fabrics and yarn stored on the ground floor that caught fire. Workers couldn’t evacuate through the stairs. What does this say about compliance?"

Workers Rights Consortium Executive Director Scott Nova said Walmart’s "culpability is enormous." It's Bangladesh's largest buyer.

"So Walmart is supporting and incentivizing an industry strategy in Bangladesh: extreme low wages, non-existent regulation, and brutal suppression of any attempt by workers to act collectively to improve wages and conditions."

Other major retailers and global brands share guilt. They demand low prices and get them. They're mindless about working conditions, pay, safety, and employee abuse.

Bangladesh is a garment sweatshop cesspool. It ranks second to China. It produces over $18 billion in annual exports.

Around three and a half million workers are employed in about 5,000 factories. Most are young women and girls. Fundamental rights are denied.  

Besides horrific conditions and sub-poverty wages, Bangladesh fire safety is notoriously poor.

The Clean Clothes Campaign said over 500 Bangladeshi workers died in factory fires since 2006 alone. More tragedies ahead are certain.

IGLHR published eyewitness Tazreen testimonies. A senior worker said:

On November 24, fire started around 6:30PM. It broke out on the ground floor. "It quickly spread to upper floors. About 1,800 workers were trapped."

"Our production manager, Mr. Monju, pulled down the collapsible gate on the third floor, forcing us to continue working."

"We pleaded with him to let us out, but Mr. Monju assured us that nothing was wrong and we should keep working. He told us not to listen to any rumors. He said again, ‘Nothing has happened, just keep working.’ "

"We smelled the fumes and saw the flames coming from the ground floor of the factory. There is no emergency exit in the factory. Some of the finishing section workers managed to escape, but the sewing section workers were trapped inside."

"Some workers broke the windows and jumped from the building."

"I saw some workers were jumping from the broken windows. Some workers jumped from the roof and died. Most of the women workers were trapped inside the factory and burned alive."

The official death toll is 112. Workers interviewed said they believe over 200 were killed. Another 300 or more were injured. Tazreen and complicit government officials want the disaster downplayed. Many bodies were so badly burned they can't be identified.

Neighboring buildings were destroyed or damaged. Human tragedies can't be reversed.

Criminal negligence continues unaccountably. Dozens of deaths change nothing. Government officials and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) never implemented legal factory ordinances.

Worker rights and safety don't matter. Made in Bangladesh has special meaning.

A Final Comment

On August 23, The New York Times headlined "Export Powerhouse Feels Pangs of Labor Strife," saying:

Police and "paramilitary officers" attacked Ishwardi Export Processing Zone protesting garment workers.

They were "protecting two ingredients of a manufacturing formula that has quietly made Bangladesh a leading apparel exporter to the United States and Europe: cheap labor and foreign investment."

Special police patrols protect industrial areas. Intelligence operatives "keep an eye on labor organizers."

One closely watched was Aminul Islam. He was found "tortured and killed in April." The murder remains unsolved.

Garment exports are vital for Bangladesh's economy. Its development is considered a national security issue.

Consulting giant McKinsey calls Bangladesh the "next China." Its garment exports could triple by 2020.

Transparency International says that "politics and business are so enmeshed that one is kin to the other."

Worker rights are systematically denied. Police attack protesters demanding higher wages and better working conditions. They're criminalized for challenging authority.

Alternative Movements for Resources and Freedom executive director, Khorshed Alam, said "no one wants to join unions out of fear." It doesn't matter if they did. Rights don't come with membership.

"The local owners, the brands, the government, their positions are all the same on this. They know that if (large numbers of) workers get organized, they will have to start listening to them."

Corporations rely on Bangladesh for some of the lowest wages anywhere. One observer calls it "the cheapest place under the sun."

Labor activists say factory owners, international retailers, and government officials want it kept that way.

IGLHR assistant director Barbara Briggs said:

"In our experience these sorts of issues will continue to arise, as long as brands in the US and in Europe are able to go around the world and do business on the basis of a race to the bottom."

"Over and over again we see companies have made lovely codes of conducts, but are workers’ rights being respected? No."

No one can live on sub-poverty wages. Occasional raises don't match cost of living increases. Labor code of conduct standards exist in name only.

Bangladesh prioritizes garment industry growth. Expect sweatshop wage slavery to expand with it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


The Rich Apostates of Hell on Wall St. joyfully laugh about Poverty all the way to bank

by The Rich Apostates of Hell on Wall St. Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 at 6:13 PM

The Rich Apostates of Hell on Wall St. joyfully, Fanatically, Satanically, Unashamedly, Sadistically, and Ritually, laugh about The Poverty and Misery Created Globaly by their Satanic Sweatshops all The Way to Bank as they joyfully, Fanatically, Unashamedly, Satanically, Sadistically, and Ritually Create Dangerous Working Conditions, Work Factory Workers to Death, Sexually Abuse and Rape Workers, and Try to Blame The Victim (The Workers) for The Crime if anything goes wrong like The Wall St. Created Fire in Bangladesh, having The CIA's Satanic Pigs with Badges and Guns Manufacture Trumped Up Charges and Rounding Up Phoney Suspects for The TV Cameras so The PR Firms can BS The Public into believing that Workers caused The Fire, when in Fact it was Corporate CEO's, who Created the Unsafe Working Conditions that lead to the Fire. From Walmart, Sears, and Disney to Bangladesh, these Fires were Financed and Created by NAFTA Sweatshops Inc. The Repiglicans in Congress and Senate will probably try to get them more Tax Breaks so they can do more of the same Overseas. A little side note. Isn't CEO's cutting Saftey Corners the type of Practices used by CEO's that created The Gulf Oil Spill?
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

INDY's KPFK radio program being eliminated ? too ? J10 4:57PM

Bertolt Brecht Testifies Before the House Un-American Activities Committee (1947) 2 min J02 3:04PM

Pacifica-KPFK Archives, director resignation J18 4:50PM

SAVE KPFK & PACIFICA: VOTE IN THIS CRUCIAL ELECTION! J18 3:39PM

KPFK radio elections for LSB coming Quick ! J18 1:05PM

KPFK Local Station Board Elections In-Progress J13 11:31AM

Black Lives Matter Activist Jasmine Abdullah Sentenced Three Months in Jail on Attempted Lynching Charge J09 2:08AM

Why are the Park Rangers making it even more difficult for the homeless in Los Angeles? J04 3:11PM

Bernie Sanders in Lincoln Heights M23 8:23PM

Los Angeles Sit-In to Fight Voter Suppression M18 4:28AM

War Within California's 46th CD M13 11:42AM

NPR's David Greene & Alison Aubrey along with David Ludwig Shill For Factory Farm Eggs M13 7:55AM

2016 AT&T Shareholders engaged by Communications Workers of America D9 Activists M12 11:43PM

Communications Workers of America District 9 Action at AT&T Shareholders M12 9:38PM

Voter Registration at ELAC M10 3:31PM

LA Times Fails to Cover Protest Against Clinton M07 9:15PM

Violence Against Poor In Venice A29 12:59PM

California Safe Schools Honors 11 Year Old Daniel Randall A25 2:25PM

NPR's Marketplace: The Voice of Loanshark Capitalism A19 4:08PM

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, Pandering to the Corporate Whores of the Storage Industry A09 5:03PM

Lartiste Maestro iTunes télécharger de la musique gratuit et Légalement 2016 A08 3:20PM

Spring 2016 National Immigrant Solidarity Network Monthly News Alert! A05 2:14PM

KPFK and Pacifica, more doings, reposted here A04 4:18PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

American exceptionalism presents an election made in hell J26 1:03PM

America's Promise & The Grim Reality J25 9:57PM

Verizon Please Protect Yahoo Groups Subscribers J25 10:13AM

Puño de Hierro en Turquía J25 2:02AM

Adresse à la censure/modération J24 10:48PM

Paraphysique de l'atimie J24 12:39AM

UN Summit Reaches Debt, Tax and Trade Agreements J22 1:32PM

Fbi thugs continue assaults on me and now on my wife J21 8:13AM

The Social State Benefits All of Us J21 4:16AM

Fantômas, la réaction se déchaîne J20 10:20PM

Fbi/ MAFIA seize America J20 5:59PM

Holy See Calls on UN Development Summit to Build an Inclusive Economy J20 10:38AM

Kurt Vonnegut's 7 Pieces of Advice J20 10:34AM

Negotiators Struggle for Agreement on Debt and Tax Issues at UN Development Summit J20 9:40AM

VOID NETWORK On the tragic and the farcical of the British referendum An analysis about B J19 4:24AM

Bernie Sanders Wins at the End J18 4:19AM

Angelenos plan LAX protest of Turkey’s Dirty War against Kurds J17 11:17PM

June 2016 Honduras coup update J15 5:28AM

Gabegie imbitable J14 10:25PM

The Shortwave Report 07/15/16 Listen Globally! J14 4:11PM

assaults by fbi cleverly perpetrated J14 10:38AM

repost by geral sosbee on fbi's murderous corruption J13 2:22PM

Geral Sosbee, former fbi agent illuminates fbi's murderous corruption J13 2:17PM

Murderous Police & Their fbi Mentors J12 4:22PM

fbi are human monsters J12 11:33AM

The Animal Rights Record Of Each Congressperson J12 8:27AM

Fbi is MAFIA-USA J11 8:53PM

The Totalitarianism of the Market J11 7:53AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy