National
6 years ago

Improved working conditions in RMG restore buyers’ faith

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Nearly five years later of the Rana Plaza incident, things have changed.

Many manufacturers are now confident conditions have improved sufficiently, and the time is right to capitalise on the country's manufacturing advantages.

Global apparel makers such as Japan's Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo chain, have been lured by low labour costs that compare favourably with China's soaring wages.

Japanese jewellery and apparel shop operator Yondoshi Holdings also plans to make more bags in Bangladesh, confident that circumstances have improved and the country's profile as a production base will become more prominent among leather product makers and clothing brands.

Yondoshi says the skills of Bangladeshi garment workers and the quality of the products have improved markedly, thanks to the steady accumulation of experience of producing for global apparel brands.

The company is looking to increase its production in Bangladesh to about 30 per cent of its total in the coming years.

Following the 2013 disaster, many major manufacturers had to rethink how they did business in Bangladesh. Fast Retailing responded quickly with steps to ensure worker safety at partner factories, and now provides health care advice to female workers, including that on nutrition.

Smaller businesses, too, are keen to benefit from the advantages of manufacturing in Bangladesh.

Rayan, a bag and shoe maker based in Tokyo's Asakusa district manufactures shoes in Bangladesh and sell them under its Bicash brand, according to The Nikkei, , Japan Economics Newspaper. 

Simple lineups using fine Bangladeshi leather are priced at a little over 10,000 yen, and sell well both online and at stores. The maker's Bangladeshi production has almost doubled over the past several years to around 12,000 pairs of shoes annually.

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