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Alice Evans @_alice_evans
, 12 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
The 1,134 deaths at the Rana Plaza factory collapse shunted global supply chains into the media spotlight.

We saw the horrors of precarity, lax safety standards, & weak representation of labour.

What's happened since? #thread
Poor working conditions are partly caused by buyers' procurement practices:

Minimising production costs: seeking low prices then cutting loose, & renegotiating prices (rather than making long-term commitments to suppliers).

How has this changed in Bangladesh, since Rana Plaza?
In Bangladesh:

The price paid by lead firms to garment manufacturers has DECLINED by 13%.

Manufacturers' profit margins decreased by 13% (2011-16).

This obvs limits scope to raise wages & invest in better buildings… - Professor Mark Anner @LERatPSU
Our brands have also pushed suppliers to make our clothes more quickly.

Lead times fell by 8.14% (2011-15).

This rush incentivises manufacturers to 'sweat' existing workers: forced overtime.

[They could recruit more workers, but this is risky, given short-term contracts]
How has this impacted young, female Bangladeshi garment workers?

Since 2013, their real wages have fallen by 6.47%.

Violations of their rights to form unions, bargain, & strike increased by 12%.…
But... there is some good news.

After Rana Plaza, some (mostly European, not US) buyers committed to the @banglaccord.

Supporting rigorous building inspections,
Strengthening workers' representation & voice,
Committing to binding arbitration.

--> major improvements in safety
.@banglaccord's goal is to ensure that all 1,600 factories of its signatory brands are safe for their 2.5+ million employees.
Having identified fire, structural & electrical safety risks, @banglaccord has terminated 96 factories for failing to implement required safety renovations.

So these factories can no longer supply to any Accord signatory brand.

This helps prevent another Rana Plaza.
4 key points about @banglaccord:

- Strengthening industrial democracy: worker representation
- Rigorous inspections
- Well-resourced: $11m per yr, to pay its 94 specialized engineers & other staff
- Binding arbitration, enabling worker compensation, eg:…
So it is excellent that many brands have signed up to @banglaccord

But many have not.

Really disappointing that Sainburys & M&S are not committing to workers' safety in Bangladesh. US firms are also absent.

Risking another Rana Plaza.…
While @banglaccord is improving safety, wages are still falling

This is partly caused by procurement practices:

- Racing to the bottom, then cutting loose
- Sourcing from authoritarian countries, quashing the autonomous worker orgs mobilising for better pay, conditions & rights

Despite price squeezes, some Asian governments have managed to raise minimum wages & improve compliance in garment factories.

Garment workers in Vietnam earn more than counterparts in Bangladesh.



[gotta go on a run but that's our forthcoming paper]
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