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& M with buyers. After the elimination of quotas, the scope for manoeuvring was severely limited, buyers often threatening to shift their orders to China. Asked whether the reduction of C & M would lead to reduction of wages, the owner stated that so far they had not cut wages but that if the situation did not improve, at least the simultaneous payment of basic salary and overtime might be suspended.

At the end of the first year in the non-MFA world, the Bangladesh RMG industry is generally considered to have performed much better than expected. Our findings from the survey also show that retrenchment due to factory closure was

minimal.

The

majority

of

the

Nevertheless, as already stated, the

caution.

In

many

cases

working

ex-workers left their jobs workers’ responses have to be conditions forced workers to

on their own. interpreted with decide to leave

their jobs.

It is not possible to definitively state at this point to what extent

MFA withdrawal

directly

or

indirectly

affected

the

business

environment

in

the the

individual

factories

at

which

individual

decisions

of

workers

were

made.

The

decrease in workload after January 2005 mentioned ex-workers and 55 percent of current workers may be consequence of MFA elimination.

by 90 percent of the interpreted as a direct

A comparison of current and retrenched workers suggests a widening gap between those who are able to keep their job and those who are forced to leave. Among the current workers at least, none mentioned a decrease in wages after

January

2005.

On

the

affecting the basic needs

other hand, the adverse consequences of

of

ex-workers

and

their

households.

The

job loss are deterioration

of the economic conditions of their households family relationships and particularly in terms the women workers.

is of

likely to cause a a weakening of

deterioration the position

in of

From the pre-dominance of the RMG industry in the manufacturing sector as a source of female employment, we can see that a job in an RMG factory is still a better option than others and, especially for less educated women, may be the only option. The vulnerable position of women workers makes possible the

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