Although many South and South East Asian countries have experienced economic growth in recent years, the working conditions are still deplorable. The high economic growth has reduced poverty, but at the same time the inequality is growing and many accepts work in the informal sector.
3F aims at improving the living and working conditions for the many workers in the textile and garment industry and supports a united and coordinated labour movement that is able to fight for their labour rights nationally as regionally. The programme in South and South East Asia focuses on strengthening national trade union federations for textile workers as well as clothing companies’ social responsibility, which 3F is actively trying to influence within the framework of Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Bangladesh has in recent years received considerable attention internationally, because of the disasters in the garment industry. In April 2013, the Rana Plaza building collapsed and thousands of textile workers lost their lives in the rubble. In November 2012, a fire broke out at the Tazreen factory in Dhaka and over one hundred workers died. These disasters have created great awareness on the working and safety conditions, and two national agreements have paved the way for a boost in the safety level at the factories. Still, Bangladesh is criticized for lack of compliance with labour standards.
3F works actively to support trade unions to train workers and campaigns on labour rights. Additionally, 3F advise in organizing workers and registering of new company unions. 3F is in direct dialogue with clothing companies with production in Bangladesh, such as H&M and Bestseller to get the brands to require decent work conditions at the factory level.