Labour exploitation in Bangladesh

You\’d think they could find a better example than this, wouldn\’t you?

My seven-year-old son always complains in tears about me not coming to drop or pick him up from school. But I have to be at work all day. My daily routine starts at 4 am. I wash up, then cook breakfast and lunch for the family, get my son ready for school and finally set off for work. Reaching the factory gate before 7am is compulsory. Work starts half an hour later. For nine hours I toil, with a one-hour lunch break, and start for home in the evening. It takes me more than an hour to get home on the bus.\”

14 comments on “Labour exploitation in Bangladesh

  1. I live in a very rich country and commuters here sit in their cars, or in trains, up to six hours a day; they leave before the children wake up, come home when they are already asleep – and in the winter the commuting is done in darkness on icy roads. Some, like construction workers, stay away for weeks, living in container-barracks. But a more relevant comparison would be between the poor in Bangladesh and our poor when we were at the same stage of development?

  2. To be fair, a nine hour work day with a mere hour for lunch probably does seem like unimaginable horror to a Grauniad journalist.

  3. Maybe the real complaint is the unspoken bit: some of these people don’t have trust funds.

  4. No good offering her a job in a pub then.
    For twenty years we ran a successful city centre pub in a world heritage city. Deliveries had to be early as much of the city centre was out of bounds for traffic for much of the day.
    Up at 8.00am, deliveries, cleaning, shopping/cash’n’carry, food prep, cellar management, etc.
    Open 11.00 on the nail.
    Service to 00.00, bar clean and swab, w.c.clean and swab, cash up, bed by 1.00, if lucky.
    6 days a week, short day Sunday, open 12.00 close 11.00.
    Just shows what can be done with a statistical sample of 1.

  5. I don’t work the hours I’d have to if I ran a pub, but I’m up at 0550, into the office at 0630, allowed an hour for lunch although it’s usually a 20 min. snack, usually get back home around 1930. Generally in bed by 2030-2100. Am I overworked? Hardly.

    Cry me a fucking river.

  6. Does seven-year-old have a key round his neck on a piece of string so he can let himself into the house after school?

  7. That’s the horror of an early shift. Just like half of britain goes through every day. The gargantuan sense of over-entitlement in the UK (9 hours on an early shift is exploitation) is suffocating.

  8. Frances: “Does seven-year-old have a key round his neck on a piece of string so he can let himself into the house after school?”

    Ach, ein Schlüsselkind. If the Bangladesh workers have same main concerns as Germans in 1970’s, their things aren’t that bad.

    Alas, I think there are people in Bangladesh who are much worse off. I actually doubt their home has a lock. I suspect most workers do much more than 8 hours, with a 1-hour lunch break in between. (That’s the regular routine for factory workers where I life: start at 7, lunch hour at 11, workday ends at 16. )

  9. pjt,
    I think Frances’ point was that many of us had that experience (key round neck) and it’s no great hardship really.

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