The impact of collective
arrangements on garment
workers’ wages and work hours
the barriers of collective arrangements to
raiselabour standards in the Bangladeshi
Since the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, various “collective arrangements” (CAs) have emerged to promote better labour standards and working conditions in the Bangladeshi garment industry. These arrangements range from industry-led initiatives to transnational industrial agreements. This Discussion Paper examines the outcomes of CAs on workers’ wages and working hours in garment factories in Bangladesh. The paper also provides broader insights on the effectiveness and challenges of such CAs in improving labour standards in the garment industry.
Analysis of worker-level data from Microfinance Opportunities Organisation (MFO) suggests that workers from factories affiliated with CAs earn somewhat higher wages while working fewer monthly hours than workers from factories without any CAs. However, the presence of multiple CAs in factories does not allow testing for attribution to specific initiatives.
Insights from stakeholder interviews indicate four key barriers impeding the effectiveness of CAs: conflict of interest between different stakeholders, misalignment of buyer purchasing practices and sourcing intermediaries, duplication of efforts in individual factories, and an overall lack of collaboration between arrangements.