“The factory is owned by the workers,” said Rintu. They receive around Tk3,500 for working nine hours a day, six days a week and are paid duly for putting in overtime. Fifty percent of the factory’s profit is equally distributed among the workers.
On top of that, Mukto Tarunno bears medical and educational expenses of the workers and their children. Workers at the factory said the hours are flexible and they are satisfied.
“What this factory does for us cannot be compared to that of the Rana Plaza in any way,” said 22-year-old Helena. “There is a lot of flexibility in our work hours. When we feel tired we are allowed to have a rest. Working at Rana Plaza was nothing like it.”
I felt compelled to share this article, written a few days ago, for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it was published in the Dhaka Tribune – in my mind, the best newspaper in Bangladesh written in English. I have some friends who work there and I greatly respect their work and the ethics with which they conduct themselves. This is a paper of integrity.
Secondly, this article gives me hope that we still live in a world where something good can come out of something bad. Actually, not just good: Better.
I believe that Bangladesh really needs more of these kind of initiatives where companies are effectively co-ops – owned by the workers themselves. That this company has gone one step further and looked after workers who have lost limbs who would ordinarily be no longer considered employable is immensely commendable. Rintu, the man behind the scheme deserves a medal. I just hope it doesn’t turn out. in the end, to be far from what it promises it could be.
Thirdly, I think it is a good time to remind readers around the world that the Rana Plaza disgrace took place at all. Long after the hype and commotion and before everyone starts greedily buying their cheap clothes made by Asian hands in time for Christmas; long after the major companies made great noises about improving conditions for workers but made little progress other than pacify their customers; long after the rest of the world has forgotten Bangladesh when this country continues to feel the pain and the injustice.
Be reminded that the Rana Plaza disaster occurred; and be reminded that there are still people in the world who are able to do something to make things better. It’s a gift seldom seen.
- What happens next in Bangladesh is partly up to us (itv.com)
- Rana Plaza factory disaster: victims still waiting for compensation (theguardian.com)
- No deal on Bangladesh garment fund (bbc.co.uk)