Despite the many benefits that garment manufacturing companies in Costa Rica offer, there are also some disadvantages that can be associated with the industry. For example, there is a shortage of skilled labor and conditions of work can be very poor. In addition, workers can be abused, and the cost of living is high.
1 Conditions of work in the garment industry are often poor
Throughout the world, the garment industry is a source of unique economic opportunities for millions of women in developing countries. However, many women who work in the industry have limited or no rights. Consequently, the conditions of work in the garment industry are often poor.
In Costa Rica, the minimum wage is 821 colones per hour. This is equivalent to $1.50 per hour, depending on the exchange rate.
In addition to low wages, the textile-apparel industry is characterized by long hours and unsanitary conditions. Most factories have little ventilation, unguarded machinery, no temperature control, and inadequate bathrooms.
The resulting high rates of health problems for workers are a major concern. Studies indicate that heat stress can lead to productivity losses, discomfort, and even death.
The clothing industry is also marked by fierce competition between retailers. The average worker is required to work 70 hours a week. Some employers force women to take pregnancy tests. Some employers use child labor.
The offshore garment assembly operations are the most dynamic segment of the apparel industry in the region. These operations typically employ children, women, and adults. These operations are a major source of jobs in the region, but the wages paid to the workers are miniscule. The profit margin in these operations is usually three times higher than the average industry profit.
The offshore garment assembly operations are primarily employed by women, but children make up a significant part of the workforce. The industry has a bad reputation for extreme temperatures, excessive noise, and verbal abuse.
In Costa Rica, the system of justice may be decided by a single judge or a panel of judges. The courts are generally considered fair. However, there are still numerous cases of people working under the table and others who have been retaliated against for speaking up.
The garment industry provides a critical first step out of poverty for millions of women throughout the world. However, better conditions for garment workers can boost productivity and help the industry’s largely female workforce become more empowered.
The Better Work program was launched by the ILO and the World Bank Group in order to improve the working conditions of the garment and textile industries. In addition, the Solidarity Center, an organization promoting human rights and labor rights in the Costa Rican garment and textile industries, provides training to factory managers and union leaders.
2 There is a shortage of skilled labor
Despite a high percentage of college graduates, there is a shortage of skilled labor in garment manufacturing companies in Costa Rica. It’s not just about hiring new workers, but also about nurturing the ones already working. Younger workers have a negative view of the industry. However, incentives can help fill in the gaps.
The industry has undergone many upheavals over the last decade. One of the most interesting is the transformation from a traditionally agricultural-based economy to a diversified industrial one. For example, beef has declined in importance, while computer microchips have become the top export in the early 21st century.
The country’s national federation of savings and loan cooperatives supervises an extensive network of local agencies. Among the autonomous agencies are universities, the social security institute, and the national insurance institute.
There is a small national stock exchange. Interestingly, the most successful industries are located in the more affluent coastal areas. In fact, the San Jose metropolitan area has the highest affluence per capita in the country.
The government has been able to attract some big names by offering tax incentives and tax-free zones. The most obvious implication is that the country is now more prosperous than it was a decade ago. In terms of the number of people employed, the most recent numbers indicate that more Costa Ricans work in the service sector than in the manufacturing sector.
There is no army, but there is a non-conscripted civil guard whose duties include patrolling the streets. The country’s burgeoning tourism industry has made it a popular tourist destination. Moreover, its natural resources are highly prized, and its rainforests are a draw for nature lovers.
The manufacturing industry in Costa Rica is not without its flaws. For example, there is a shortage of skilled labor, and manufacturers have trouble adapting to changing markets. In addition, there are many instances of people working under the table. In fact, a European Working Conditions Survey found that only 25 percent of workers have a traditional work schedule. That’s one of the main reasons the industry’s reputation has been marred by a spate of strikes.
3 Workers can be abused
Several studies have shown that workers in the garment manufacturing industry are subject to a host of abuses. These include verbal and physical abuse, poor wages, and infrequent pay. These conditions have been well documented by trade unions, government raids, and by international organizations.
Children are commonly recruited into the garment manufacturing industry. They often have to live at the site and work long hours, under grueling conditions. Some are also denied adequate food and water. Others are paid a small fraction of what they are owed, and the family is frequently left in debt. They are even forbidden from leaving their jobs.
Some are lured into the industry by fraudulent promises of money and gifts. In some cases, these workers are required to complete a multi-year contract before they can be paid. They are also barred from leaving their jobs until the contract ends. Some are not paid for all of their work, while others are forced to work off-site, such as in farms.
Several surveys have found that workers in the garment manufacturing industry are subjected to excessively long working hours. Some children are even forced to work overnight, often under unsafe conditions. Those who attempt to break free are subjected to physical abuse.
Workers in the RMG industry are also victims of physical and sexual abuse. In many cases, workers are forced to use hazardous materials or tools that can lead to serious injuries. Other survey results indicate that workers may be subjected to a number of less-than-desirable tactics such as deception, intimidation, and false promises. Some of these tactics are used to extract workers from their homes and force them to travel great distances.
While the garment industry has been associated with low wages, discrimination and exploitation, the Better Work program aims to improve working conditions for garment manufacturers worldwide. The program brings factories into compliance with national labor laws and international standards. It also provides training and advisory services to help factories implement improved work practices. It has been implemented in more than one thousand factories across eight countries, including China, India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.
4 Cost of living in Costa Rica is high
Whether you’re planning to retire or looking for a place to spend your golden years, Costa Rica is an excellent option. Although the costs of living in Costa Rica are higher than most other places in the United States and Western European countries, they are far cheaper than most other destinations.
Costa Rica has one of the highest standards of living in Central and South America. This includes a stable political climate and well-maintained national parks. It’s also one of the safest spots in the region.
Those who work in Costa Rica must pay income taxes on their income. Self-employed people pay a tax of 10% to 25%. They may also have to file a tax return with the IRS.
Medical care is the most expensive expense in Costa Rica. A root canal costs $750. Other medical expenses can range from $70 for a quick visit to $2200 for a full-blown treatment.
Entertainment and food are also costly. Restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill. While imported food is not inexpensive, fresh fruits and vegetables are relatively cheap. If you cook at home, you can cut your food costs by half.
Housing and utilities can vary widely depending on the city and size of your apartment. Electricity and water costs are generally low. However, air conditioning drives up your electric bill.
You’ll also need to get a bank account, which is essential for accessing essential services. In some areas, internet speeds can be spotty. Depending on your lifestyle, you may need to budget more than the average $1,400 per month to maintain a good life in Costa Rica.
In addition, you’ll need to pay property transfer tax, which is 1.5% of the property’s value. This can be applied to both private and business income.
You’ll find that the cost of living in Costa Rica is comparable to Mexico, but it’s much more affordable. If you don’t need a car, you’ll find that public transport is easy to use. A basic cell phone plan will not cost more than $20. You can also take advantage of a variety of entertainment options.
Henry Pham (Pham Quang Anh), CEO of DONY Garment
This year, we have found that many international buyers are seeking new suppliers based in nations outside of China and Thailand to purchase many goods and products, including uniforms, workwear, reusable cloth face mask, and protective clothing.
At DONY Garment, we are proud to welcome international customers, especially those based in the US, Canada, the Middle East, and the EU market to discover the professional production line at our factory in Vietnam.
We guarantee our products are of the highest quality, at an affordable cost, and easy to transport across the world.