imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for the ‘labour’ Category

Dec 28,2008

The Hidden Face of Globalisation

part 2

part 3

Images of Ship Breaking

Dec 25,2008

Take a look.

Dec 18,2008

This, my friends, is the staggering figure quoted in this article in the New Nation. Do you believe it? Do I believe it? Hell no. I have had occasion to blog about the Manpower ministry before when they were looking for measures to punish absconding labourers. Now I read that they have exacted fines from labour recruiters and have distributed the accumulated money - about a million quid - to labour victims. This sounds too far fetched to even contemplate. Someone should tell them its December and not April 1st.

Amazing video of brick labourer

  • Filed under: labour
Dec 12,2008

Don’t try this at home or in the office. The health and safety people won’t like it.

Smart Stitch

  • Filed under: labour
Dec 10,2008

Superb satire on the garment industry

New Portable Sewing Machine Lets Sweatshop Employees Work On The Go

Violence at textile mill

  • Filed under: labour
Nov 19,2008

Fifty people are said to have been injured after protests over quality of food served to the workers led to violence. Reuters reports that the violence lasted several hours at the Abani Knitwear Textile Mill at Hrishipara.

Tea and Fair Trade

  • Filed under: labour
Nov 16,2008

This week will see the launch of a new documentary by Tom Heinemann dealing with the issue of “Fair Trade.” How fair is it really? Tom looks at tea estates in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to answer this question. Watch this space for more information. 

E-waste by Robert Knoth

Oct 20,2008

Quite a fascinating slide presentation of photographs from Pakistan by Robert Knoth. Devastating photographs of people eeking out a living from what the photographer calls “E-Waste.” A Greenpeace initiative.  Click the image.

Dhaka City Corporation

Sep 25,2008

15 months overdue…still no salary. From The Guardian yesterday. Andrew Biraj/Reuters.

See more of Andrew Biraj’s work HERE.

Sep 22,2008

The brutal practice  of the British continues to this day in the tea plantations of India in terms of sourcing labour. You will remember, if you had the right kind of teacher, that the Brits tried all the tricks of the trade to generate a proletariat for the tea gardens. In the end, and adopting the lessons from sugar, rubber and indigo,  they settled for migrant labour from other parts of India. This allowed the Brits to impose the relations of production that suited them.

Migrant labour is still good for exploitation to this day. And sadly trafficked child labour also.

Not less than 10,000 people, mostly children are trafficked into the Northeast with a good number smuggled in from Bangladesh, Nepal and other South East Asian countries, surveys by NGOs reveal.

Most of those trafficked are then engaged as cheap labour in coal mines of Meghalaya, tea gardens in Assam and prostitution.

Sep 20,2008

The Bangladeshi government has suddenly realised that the hundreds of thousands of its citizens who are forced to leave home and work abroad are worthy of their attention. Sadly it is not to safeguard worker rights in hostile foreign environments …but to make sure that the fragile rights workers do have back home are taken away! How nice eh?  To this end, the foreign ministry and the inaccurately named Department of Expatriate Welfare (!) have apparently been dreaming up a raft of draconian measures. Here are a couple which are mentioned in a Daily Star Report

  • Migrants workers are to be finger printed and open to prosecution should they abscond from work in the lucrative markets of Europe.

Labour is after all another commodity and the BD government wishes to ensure that the markets view this Bangladesh commodity favourably. Never mind finding out about the incentive structures which lead people to abscond…just make sure you have modern-day bonded labour and if the buggers do do a runner then make life bloody uncomfortable for them. How inspired of this noble, people-friendly government!

  • Labour “guardians” will have to pay a bond of “Tk 10 lakh and fixed deposit receipt of Tk 1 lakh to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training.”

A nice little earner for the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training from the skilled and semi-skilled market, no?  Yes, and there is more :  the Bangladesh government is also to become a labour dalal because government officials are to be “engaged in the process of selecting workers for overseas jobs.”  We all know what that means and what it is a recipe for, don’t we?


Sep 19,2008

The Jordanian garment industry seems to be going through a rocky period.  Never the best of employers even during bouyant periods (see my previous posts HERE and HERE AND HERE), this particular story concerns a Jordanian factory owner ( Qudorat Garment Company) who abruptly exited the kindgom and left all his workers, including 321 Bangladeshis, in the lurch. Nice one mate, I hope they find you one of these days and make you wear one of your dresses when you go on trial.


Sep 17,2008

Gurkhas  accused ministers of a dishonourable failure to reciprocate their loyalty by refusing to let the Nepalese infantrymen settle in the country for which they had risked their lives in battle.

Joanna Lumley - now she is always interesting….

Yunus embarassment again - today!

  • Filed under: labour
Sep 4,2008


The Grameen Phone and Telenor scandal which blew up in May this year is about to rear its head and once again humiliate Bangladesh’s nobel laureate Mohammed Yunus. Tom Heinemann’s documentary exposed the unacceptable and dangerous working conditions found in operations run by Grameen Phone. And today, Norwegian TV will show an interview with Yunus concerning the sub-contracting that goes on in his company. Grameen often uses “illegal sub-contractors” who have no health and safety standards in place. Telenor will be shown admitting the problem. Yunus will be putting the blame on Telenor…though according to the journalist at NRK, he “feels ashamed.”

You can see the interview directly at and then go to nett-tv and find “Dagsrevyen” at 19:00 ( Norwegian time).