Researsh & Study

Countrywide Downstream (Local) Garment Industry in Bangladesh
Countrywide Downstream (Local) Garment Industry in Bangladesh
Timeline: 2017

The downstream local garments industry refers to the sector involved in the later stages of the garment production process. There are many apparel hubs in Bangladesh that have emerged as downstream readymade garments involves various inputs such as fabric, garment accessories, and allied industries services. The downstream factories use the “cutpiece” or Jhoot (leftover) cloths to make apparels both for adults and kids. Other major raw materials including thread, button, zippers, etc, are also sourced from local specialized market. Some small-scale shops have also been established within the industry areas. Labels, logos and other fancy materials are also purchased from local market in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Narshingdi and Chittagong.

Bangladesh Labour Foundation (BLF) commissioned this study to establish benchmark data on nature of local garment/tailoring shop industry round the country, and gather data focusing on workers and household socio-economic status in the downstream garment industry in Bangladesh.

Objective: The baseline study aimed at establishing prevalence and nature of workers and household socio-economic status in the downstream garment industry in Bangladesh. The specific objectives are to explore the local garment industry round the country, create baseline values for socio-economic indicators etc.

Methodology: This study involving both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The primary elements of survey are based on closed questionnaire. Variety of techniques, such as Literature Review, FGDs, KIIs, Mapping and Case studies have been employed.

Findings: The workforce workers are from the poor background. The female workers are fewer than the male. Most of the workers have education ranging from primary level to grade IX and their per capita income is less than half of the national per capita income. Many of their family expenditure accounts for food item and the rest for cloth procurement and treatment. These factories do not follow the minimum standard of occupational safety and health. Most plants do not have the emergency medical kits, firefighting equipment, and emergency exit facilities. The workers have access to safe drinking water in workplaces but they lack access to sanitary latrines and urinals. Most toilet facilities are not separate for the male and female. The ventilation facility is sufficient but light is not sufficient. Workers are deprived of the opportunities to work in a decent environment. The prevalence of child labour is still high. There are no formal employment contracts between the downstream factories and their workers. The workers serve the plants based on verbal agreements. Due to a lack of a standard salary or pay system, most factories follow piece-rate payment practices. There is no standard length of working hours. As a result, they work long hours. Workers are mostly unorganized and dominated by factory owners.


  • Recognize Downstram RMG as an Industry under government and to ensure that the factories install standard system of appointment, payment and leave facilities for the workers.
  • To ensure that the factories follow the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) measures for the workers to stay secure from harms in their workplaces, the BLF should train the factory owners/employers and workers on the measures and arrange periodic monitoring on a regular basis
  • To ensure the factories provide sufficient ventilation and light facilities in the workplaces, the factory owners should be given orientation on the one hand and the application of legal compliance should be influenced on the other, etc.

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