THE POOR WORKING-POOR in DHAKA

May 15, 2013

By Mr. David Nesbitt. In light of recent international events: THE DISASTER Don’t forget Wednesday, 24 April, 2013. That very day, the world got a profound lesson about unexpected consequences of globalization. It was collapse of a multi-storey building that housed several light-industries in Dhaka, Bangladesh. More than 900 workers were apprehensive about safety of the place. Then came sudden terror, fortunately brief, as they fell with all around them to their deaths. The lucky ones perished instantly. Three weeks later, many remain in the ruins, only as nauseous stench of rotting flesh. Many temporary survivors await their ends. The families and friends of all will be lifetime casualties. THE “PERPS” The expected accusations of greed, corruption, and revenge already begin to outnumber the cries of sympathy. Many of the latter might be only hollow tokens to be cast upon the altar of unwarranted self-justifications, possibly by some yet unidentified contributors to the disaster. THEIR EXPLOITATION (?) Casual attention to our news media might persuade us to suppose that those workers have been virtually slave-labour. What else would we think of 16 cents an hour? Among us here, how many see that to be a close match of our minimum wage of about $11 per hour? This insight was imparted by a Bangladeshi immigrant who says that $1 CDN buys in Dhaka what we would spend $70 CDN to buy in Canada. In Dhaka, about 25% of any daily wage is discretionary income, compared to about 16% here. Out of it, in Toronto we pay for telephone and T.T.C. to keep us in the loop of employment. In Dhaka, work is a walk away, and it is 12 hours a day, fulltime. Here, our shifts are eight hours in fulltime work. But, not all of our working-poor are fortunate enough to work fulltime. How much better-off are they than in Dhaka? Maybe this observation could purge some of us out of our belief that we are a superb example of equality, justice, and all the other “good stuff”. OUR EXPLOITED At YWN we have, for years been pounding our heads on our proverbial Wailing Wall, about casual dismissal of our own working poor. Letters to our Editor do not indicate that we have been convincing. We recommend and appeal to our readers to urge our governments and their agencies to take initial steps in this matter. The need is for escalation of incomes and training into earned prosperity with sustainable Canadian careers.

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