GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN’

A growing company well known with all of us is Primark, a ‘successful’ business that are expanding its presence across the whole of UK. Primark is one of several companies that use unfair labour in forms of sweatshop labour overseas, the business keeps growing at the demand among the majority of us for cheap clothes, shoes and accessories.

It has been highlighted in the news that Primark uses unfair labour, even child labour, to cut down production cost, to meet the markets requirement, which is, in this case, cheaper is good. Think about it, would you have bought your look-alike converse and fleece pyjamas for five times as much as the current price?

The media is a powerful tool in these cases, and ‘every time’ a sweatshop collapses in Bangladesh or child labor get revealed in China, pictures like this

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AND THIS

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pops up, the majority of the population raise questions about workers rights and human inequality, one week later the pictures are forgotten (workers rights does not really concern us anymore) and the shop is again filled up with impatient, stressed peoples.

The issue in this case is again, as emphasised in other blog post, that sweatshop workers are the losers and big companies like Primark are the winners. But what is the alternative?

As Oxfam’s ethical trade manager Rachel Wilshaw explain about the usage of unethical labour: the alternative for these workers are at this point in the global economy worse. She also highlights that child work is not that common now, and working conditions are improving.

SO? The workers are working in an environment that is considering the surroundings, okay, because the alternative is joblessness?

Ain’t we lucky, Mari Myrenget.

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4 thoughts on “GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN’

  1. As sad as it that sweatshops exist, they are still peoples livelihood. I don’t feel that currently there is an alternative, getting rid of these sweatshops would leave the workers worse than if they were to continue to work. Although their wages are ridiculously low it’s still better than absolutely nothing.

    Paloma-Nicole Dias Dos Santos

  2. Primark as well as many other companies alike, have become successful through exploiting the poor citizens of Bangladesh with low wages and enormous work loads. I definitely agree with Mari’s point where the ill-treatment is recognised after a tragic event occurs and then is pushed aside within a week. It is time for government and non-government Organisations to put a stop to these unjust situations for these poor workers since these multi million dollar companies have gotten away with so much. Although these workers are in the loser category, they have no choice on the matter but to work to provide for their families . On the other hand the globalisation winners are the large companies in terms of the financial benefit, but they certainly are morally at loss.
    Munira Abukar

  3. It is important to point out that consumers themselves are facilitating this treatment for they continue to demand cheap fast fashion. Furthermore we have to consider what kind of image this sends to not only sweatshop workers but the countries where this practice is common. They most likely consider us as avaricious which means the West’s power weakens; so on one hand we can say we as well are losing from these inhuman practices.

    Marte Vokshi

  4. The points mentioned in the post are very interesting indeed.
    The media definitely has a major role to play, especially in terms of responsible reporting and not reporting what they believe will draw in more readers.
    This comes down to an ethics level, which is of course the crux if the subject at hand.

    There is no real ethical governance in place by any body or organization that really focuses on the rights of these sweatshop workers. Even on a personal level, how many people in the world would stop for a while and think to themselves, I should perhaps change the shop I buy my clothes from or perhaps to control myself from demanding so much.
    Therefore there is a personal element to this debate. One that should make you question your morals and ethics. Where do I stand? Am I really bothered?

    As mentioned above, there is no real governance in place. Yes, we have the UN and its loop hole regulations but there is not much regulation locally in these countries that have sweatshops. On a Governmental level, what policies and procedures have been put in place.
    Secondly, even if they have been put in place, who will monitor them. If In the First world there is bureaucracy then in the third world its even worse. So how can we be sure that regulation is actually being carried out.

    As for alternative, then I believe we do have an alternative but not something big.
    To start of with we could start buying Fair Trade clothing ( A concept which is still questionable)

    Someone mentioned that this is the workers livelyhood and if we don’t purchase then they will miss out.
    This is true to an extent, but if we can collectively campaign against the awful treatment and conditions these workers have to go through, we may just be able to have an impact in improving their conditions.

    So currently, the workers are the losers still in this debate and the winners are the big companies.

    Mohammad Uzair

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