Seventy-three per cent of garment workers in Bangladesh prefer new machines in their workplace since they increase productivity, simplify tasks, and guarantee higher quality, according to a study.
The workers said the new machines made it easier for them to do their work (35 per cent of workers), helped them produce better quality pieces (18 per cent of workers), and gave them an opportunity to learn and gain new experience (8 per cent of workers), reads a press release.
The South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), in collaboration with USA-based nonprofit organization, Microfinance Opportunities (MFO), prepared the research report on the quality of life of garment workers in Bangladesh.
This report has been prepared from the survey data collected in June 2022 and the survey is a continuation of the investigation into workers’ experience with automation.
Around 1,300 selected garment workers are surveyed every week since April 2020 under the project “Garment Worker Diaries”.
These workers are employed in factories spread across the five main industrial areas of Bangladesh -Chittagong, Dhaka City, Gazipur, Narayanganj, and Savar.
Three-quarters of the survey respondents are women, which roughly represents the composition of labour force in the RMG sector as a whole.
Previously, it was found that a small share of workers had experienced some type of automation of their work, and mostly this was simply an improvement in the existing technology they were using rather than a radical re-engineering of their work.
In the survey in June 2022, 85 per cent, workers reported that their work quota increased when they last got a new machine.
However, of those that reported an increase in their workload, 71 per cent said their salary did not change.
The reason behind salary staying at the same level despite increased productivity might be that the new machines made the work easier which was also confirmed by the workers.
About two-thirds (66 per cent) said it took less time to meet their quota; 29 per cent said it took about the same time, and 5 per cent said it either took more time or they were not able to meet their new quota with the new machine.
Their answers suggest that, in many cases, the new machines helped workers meet their quota more quickly, the report added.
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