Role 5: Activist - Background
Many people feel concerned about the economic, environmental and social problems resulting from some practices in the textile, clothing and footwear manufacturing industry and want to do something about it.
Better Work is using innovative strategies and specialized tools to measure its impact on the lives of workers and their families, the business practices of firms, and the social, human and economic development of countries.
ABC - Fashion victims:
Everyone loves a bargain, but what's the real cost of cheap clothes from Bangladesh's sweat shops? Severed limbs, cruel labour conditions and 1000 dead. How could so many of the West's top fashion brands have allowed it to happen?
Blog focusing on the violence that had hit several industrial areas in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where hundreds of thousands garment workers started protested against unfair working conditions. They demanded a significant increase in their meager salaries, from the current US$100 per month to $160. Workers, alongside a wide range of activists, clashed with police and military forces, who opened fire, killing four people and injuring many more.
About 50,000 garment industry workers held their largest protest so far in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka to demand an increase of more than 1-1/2 times in the minimum wage, police and labour officials said in 2013.
- Cambodia’s garment industry is regularly plagued with strikes and protests. But when armed security forces opened fire on striking workers in the capital city of Phnom Penh on Jan. 3, killing five and injuring dozens, it suddenly became clear that this was not just another protest.
(CBS News) Many of the clothes in American stores are made in Bangladesh, which has a history of workplace disasters. Six months ago, 112 workers died when their factory burned down. Last month, another factory collapsed, killing more than 1,100 workers in one of the worst industrial accidents ever.
Last week, Sarah Crawford, a Sydney mum of three, delivered a petition to Woolworths asking the company to join the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement and ensure Bangladeshi workers making Big W clothing are able to work in safe factories.
Trade can be a powerful engine for reducing poverty. But rich countries dominate the World Trade Organization (WTO), which is where global trade rules are negotiated. And they set rules under which poor countries continually lose out.
Wealthy nations have double standards too – forcing poorer countries to keep to rules they don’t obey themselves. The result? Trade robs poor people of a proper living and keeps them trapped in poverty.
Though the gruelling conditions these labourers were forced to toil in are shocking, and do demand action, I believe boycotting the affiliated brands is not the answer. Yes, without a doubt their actions are shameful and showed a disturbing lack of human compassion - but by boycotting these brands, we are placing a halt on the income of 3.5 million garment workers in Bangladesh , most of whom are young females, providing for large families. The situation is a moral conundrum.
Hundreds of workers demanded a higher monthly salary of 8,000 taka ($103) and the protests forced 50 clothing factories to suspend production. News article.