A news brief from Bangladesh reached Seoul last January. A female worker was shot dead by police in a factory owned by Youngone, the Korean sportswear manufacturer known as the biggest supplier of The Northface and the biggest foreign investor in Bangladesh. Youngone issued a short press release in Seoul through a PR firm:
There was a misunderstanding among some of the workers in the process of applying the new minimum wage scale, which led to unrest. Police opened fire, killing 1 worker and injuring 10 others. Meanwhile thugs from neighboring village broke into the factory, destroying facilities and stealing 2000-3000 pairs of shoes which were waiting to be exported. The management will repair the damage and clean the factory on Jan 11, and is endeavoring to resume operation on Jan 12. We feel sorry about this unfortunate incident, and ask for your understanding and cooperation.

A similar incident happened three years earlier, and Youngone gave a similar explanation. Does it make sense that Bangladesh workers repeatedly lose their lives due to mere ‘misunderstanding’?

How can this country, which has been developing a garment production industry over three decades still maintain minimum wage of less than $100 a month? How can police open fire on workers who witnessed deaths of more than a thousand colleagues in the Rana Plaza collapse just 8 months earlier?

In order to find answers to these questions, two Hankyoreh staff reporters roamed Dhaka and Chittagong for a month. All actions and events described in the story were reconstructed based on interviews with at least one, and in most cases more than two persons.

You can find the excellent article here.

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