Daily Video

April 29, 2013

Garment Industry Under Scrutiny After Factory Collapse in Bangladesh

Watch Global Garment Industry Scrutiny After Bangladesh Disaster on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

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Teachers: Please have students watch the first 1:56 minutes of this video. The remainder is a discussion.

More than 300 people died last week after an eight-story garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh. Rescue crews have pulled more than 80 survivors from the rubble.

A local television station released video of police inspecting the site a day before the deadly collapse. Large cracks were visible, but factories continued operating. According to reports, some of the factories at the site made clothing for several major retailers in North America.

Thousands of garment workers protested poor conditions and called for the building’s owners to be punished. Some demonstrators clashed with police, but the rallies were mostly peaceful. This new disaster came just five months after a garment factory fire in Bangladesh killed 112 workers.

Warm up questions

1. Take a look at the tag of your shirt. Where was it made? If the country is not the United States, what do you know about this country?

2. Where is Bangladesh located?

3. What do you know about the country of Bangladesh?

4. What are labor laws?

Discussion questions

1. What do you consider to be basic standards regarding factory working conditions?

2. Do you think there should be worldwide standards for garment factories? Discuss.

3. How much more would you be willing to pay for high factory standards? $2 per article of clothing, $5, $10, $20 ?

4. Should companies be expected to invest their own money to insure that basic standards are met in their factories, or should the governments of the countries be responsible for enforcing higher standards? Why or why not?

5. Do you think the building’s owners should be punished? Why or why not?

6. Why do think some American companies have moved production sites overseas?

7. Having watched this story, what else do you want to know about how your clothing is produced?

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