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Garment Worker Diaries Update through May 2021

Looking strictly at the work hour, wage and food security data, the near-term outlook for garment workers in May 2021 is an improvement over the situation in Bangladesh in May 2020: work hours have stabilized, wages are back to normal, and food security rates are dramatically improved over the beginning days of the pandemic.

But another way to put this would be to say that, in the long-term, garment workers are still working too much, for too little, and the food security rates are proof of this: 1 in 4 garment workers continue to report at least one week in a month when they did not eat enough due to a lack of money, and for workers who are parents about 1 out of every 7 of them reports that their children aren’t eating enough in at least one week in a month. This is even during an Eid cycle in which over 60% of garment workers received a bonus payment from their factory. 

Normally, we avoid making comments about the adequacy of wage levels. But the data have been mounting over the last few months and are clear: workers working full-time and overtime still report food insecurity.

Speaking of data, and clarity, we’d like to take a moment to apologize for an error in our work hours data that we published in our April monthly update (the April 2021 numbers reported were those for March 2021). We’ve since corrected that error, with a note, and updated the associated graph. If you ever think we’ve made a mistake, or you’d like to discuss a specific data point, please write to us at questions@workerdiaries.org.

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