|Author||Soma Dey & Palash Basak|
The export-oriented readymade garment (RMG) industry of Bangladesh has flourished quite rapidly, taking the advantage of the considerable supply of local labor. From its very beginning, RMG entrepreneurs have been showing greater interest in recruiting ‘timid’ women to ensure administrative control over the workers. Thus, labor exploitation by providing low and irregular wages has sustained this sector. Shedding light on women’s agency and choice, this article shows that so far the apparently ‘silent’ workers permit the global industry to continue with ‘cheap’ labor, driven by a gendered ideology, structural and material constraints. But women workers are moving forward to ensure wage justice. Assessing the achievements and drawbacks of the wage struggle, our study envisions women’s more effective role in securing wider labor rights in the RMG sector.
KEYWORDS: RMG (ready-made garments), women workers, low wages, irregular payment, agency, labor protest