Lives being put at risk for cheaper work

by chelsea-martin on October 29, 2013 - 9:44am

In an article posted on the Washington post, by Amy Kazmin on May 1st 2013, it states that retailers in the western world have started guaranteeing compensation for those killed or hurt in the Bangladesh factory collapse because rescuers no longer have hope of finding more survivors. The death toll surpassed 400 according to the police and many more are injured. It happened at the Rana Plaza outside of Dhaka, this area houses five factories for western retail brands. Officials say they are expecting to find more bodies as they continue to dig up the rubble. Due to the retail brands being put in the spotlight, those who were part of the five factories are now offering compensation to those affected. However, aid groups are not pleased with these offerings; the offers were not enough to fulfill the rights of the victims. The Ethical Trading Initiative said the retailers should be working with the government to make changes to the labour practices in place, because if not there will be more disasters like this one. Primark, a British retailer, was the first to offer compensation to the victims and families of those dead or injured. They offered long term aid for children who lost parents, payments to the families of those who have died, and financial aid for the people who are injured. Loblaw, a Canadian retailer also offered compensation but wanted to figure out a meaningful way to send it to them. Some retailers are trying to distance themselves from the collapse, for example the Spain’s Mango Company stated that they were only doing a trial run in this factory. The Bangladesh garment industry is however trying to insure that they are still reliable suppliers. 35 western retailers met with the leaders of the garment manufacturers and agreed to start changing the safety issues.

This is a social issue because as the western retailers realize it is cheaper to create their products there, they ignore the safety laws and have it done there anyways, this then causes a major tragedy like this did. It puts many people’s lives and risk and it shouldn’t be the case, they should be able to work safely and not have to worry about a building collapsing on them; however this is not what happened.

I feel very strongly that the western retailers need to stop thinking about what costs them less and start caring about people’s lives. People in this area need money so they’ll take any job they can, even if it is unsafe, this should be changed, they should be able to work and still feel that they are in a safe environment. They really need to start looking at the safety regulations and figure out how to fix the problems they have, so another incident like this one doesn’t happen. I strongly agree with the Ethical Trading Initiative, they really do need to change the safety codes because yes, it may cost them less to have their work done there, but to have more than 400 people die for it is truly a problem that people need to work out. If the western retailers feel that it is acceptable to let this kind of work continue they really need to open their eyes. It is not okay for people to be in such danger in their place of work. I think the panel that is being created to relook at the safety laws is a good start, but more than just relooking at safety codes needs to be done, they need to actually fix these problems.


This reminds me of a similar case in India where the company refused to take any responsibility. It shows how greedy we actually are and we do not care about the lives of other people. Companies like Dow (the one won caused a disaster in India) they just want to make the maximum profit; they do not care about their lives. The disaster was really devastating for them, more than 400 hundred people died because of a chemical accident in Bhopal. I think there should be international rules where when big company goes to other country for cheap labor ,they should respect rules to prevent these kinds of disasters

I feel like these is criminal for big companies to move to other countries and hire dirt cheap labor because the people in the foreign countries can’t do anything about because they are easily replaceable. This reminds me of the Nike Company in Vietnam were the cost to making the shoe is ridiculously low but yet the factories have dangerous working conditions. I believe they should institute a minimum wage in other countries so that companies can’t take advantage of this, also it would bring shops back to the U.S.

About the author