Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Bangladesh - the cost of fashion | link to AlJazeera and comment

Interview with Muhammad Yunus

- long video interview with Muhammad Yunus. He mainly says diplomatic, upbeat, vague things in order to get decision-makers round a table with him, but comes-up with a few specifics about introducing a welfare state when the governments of Bangladesh and Europe aren't interested.

  1. Firstly, some high-profile high-volume buyers could ask for a minimum wage to "set the ball rolling". With luck this could begin to effect colleagues in the same company, subcontractors to the contracting company and so-on if there were a consensus that it was a good thing.
  2. Secondly I forget - it was a long interview.
  3. Thirdly he came-up with a rarer point. If trade associations and legislators make information more public about factory ownership, names to blame, safety certificates checked, wages paid, then the existing laws become a lot stronger. There could be something like a wages council to investigate payment below the minimum wage or factories with cracks in the walls. What I didn't hear was why textile workers in Europe and Bangladesh deserve less of a predictable career and a welfare state than other less globalised workers, but as soon as international trade is discussed, welfare rights drop off the agenda.

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