Bangladesh's apparel industry has increasingly come under international media scrutiny since the Rana Plaza factory collapse in April 2013. This tragic accident intensified demands for improved work and pay conditions for women who account for the majority of the 4 million workforce. However views and demands of female workers continue to remain marginalized. Like in many other low-income countries, most women working in the sector come from distant rural locations and lack voice at workplace. In this context I've launched a research project (in collaboration with Fahema Talukder) to investigate specific aspects relating to worker well-being in Bangladesh's readymade garment (RMG) sector.
a) What factors are most critical to worker well-being and productivity in the ready-made garment sector in Bangladesh?
b) How important are cognitive skills for wage determination of workers (helpers and operators) and supervisors?
c) How do factory owners treat migrant workers? And who migrates to the RMG belt?
d) Do workers on low pay have different life aspirations?
As part of the project we have collected quantitative data on a large sample of female and male workers. The survey was undertaken in 2014. However we also draw upon a large number of qualitative interviews of workers to complement our quantitative analysis.
The study findings are expected to have significant policy implications e.g. they'll help identify pro-worker HR practices and improved social compliance schemes that can improve worker well-being and productivity.
Note: We're open to media queries and requests for evidence based field stories and instigative reports on the psycho-social well-being of female in the RMG sector.