Bangladesh seeking to improve working conditions in the textile industry

Interview opportunity – Bangladesh’s textile industry

Eschborn/Bonn. A little more than a year ago, on 24 April 2014, over 1,100 people lost their lives when a building collapsed in Bangladesh. Magnus Schmid was there on the day of the tragedy and assisted the emergency services with food, torches and a thermal imaging camera to look for victims buried beneath the rubble. Schmid is employed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Bangladesh. His job: to improve working conditions in the textile industry. These days, the work carried out by Schmid and his team on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) involves caring for survivors of the disaster, many of them seriously disabled. They receive support not only with medical equipment such as prostheses, but also with returning to work – either through retraining or help in setting up a business.

GIZ has been working on behalf of BMZ and the European Union since 2005 to improve working conditions in the textile industry. Progress is plain to see:

‘Factory workers need to know their rights. That’s the aim of our work with non-governmental organisations. We also provide instruction for factory managers and foremen and train state inspectors to monitor compliance with social standards in the factories,’ explains Schmid.

So far the project has achieved tangible improvements for more than 500,000 employees in over 650 textile factories. In addition, 10,000 female workers have benefited from information and awareness-raising activities through a network of ‘women’s cafés’. Here, a range of games and training activities are used to bring female textile workers up to speed on issues such as the legal minimum wage. They also learn how to stand up for their rights at work.

Our expert Magnus Schmid will be available to give telephone interviews on 16 April 2014 from 10 am to 1 pm. To arrange an interview please contact the GIZ Press Office.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. We support the German Government in the fields of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education. Through our work we assist people and societies in shaping their own future and improving living conditions.