The health and well being of a workforce is a key part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and it is crucial to the wider issue of sustainable development. Recent events in the Bangladeshi garment industry have focused the world’s attention on wealthy companies that exploit cheap labor in the developing world.
Bangladesh’s $20 billion garment industry makes it the third biggest clothing exporter in the world, but the working conditions for the country’s 3.6 million garment workers are unsafe. According to the advocacy group International Labor Rights Forum, since 2005, at least 1,800 garment workers have been killed in factory fires and building collapses in Bangladesh. Garment jobs in the country pay 3,000 takas ($38) a month, which are some of the lowest wages in the world.
In Bangladesh, like many other developing countries, workers’ rights are virtually non-existent. These abysmal working conditions are due in large part to a combination of government corruption and industry indifference.