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The Globe and Mail

Poor working conditions plague Bangladesh's garments industry

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Garment factory worker Rahima holds her daughter Ritu Moni inside her slum house in Savar. Bangladesh’s $19-billion garments industry attracts some of the world's biggest clothing brands because of low costs, but many retailers say unrest over pay and delayed shipping schedules are eroding that advantage.

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Women work at a garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh. The killing of a labour activist and publicity about unsafe working conditions has some retailers worried about their reputation.

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Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of Swedish multinational retail clothing company Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), speaks at a press conference in Dhaka Sept. 4, 2012, urging Bangladesh to increase its minimum wage.

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Beauty stands inside her slum house at Hatirjheel in Dhaka. Beauty, who works in a garment factory as a helper for $37.50 a month, shares her room with three other garment workers.

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Sharifa, who works as a labourer in one of Bangladesh’s 4,500 garment factories, cooks rice in a common cooking area inside her slum house at Hatirjheel in Dhaka.

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Women who work at this garment factory in Savar labour ten hours a day for about $37.50 per month.

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Women work at a garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh. Ready-made garments make up 80 per cent of the country’s $24-billion in annual exports.

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Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of the Swedish fashion group Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), poses in Dhaka Sept. 4, 2012. H&M, sensitive to criticism about poor pay and conditions at its clothing suppliers in Asia, has urged Bangladesh to introduce annual pay reviews for garment workers.

ANDREW BIRAJ/REUTERS

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