posts: 19

I wrote this post in response to the fire at the clothing factory in Pakistan

Occasionally, I stop writing about shoes and fashion and I get on my high horse and blog about subjects that have got me thinking.

The news about those fires in those factories in Pakistan stopped me in my tracks. Why does it keep happening ? I asked that question of a colleague of mine who is from Pakistan.

His response was that they have to work in those factories, there is nothing else. They accept the conditions and the low wages because if they don’t they will be sacked and their families will starve.

Why is it so ? In Western countries, there are Health and Safety rules, minimum wages, laws against employing child labour and Trade Unions that still have some muscle. Yet in so called developing countries, the workforces seem to be treated like slaves.

The answer, I was told was poverty. There is little or no welfare state, people have lots of children, so they can be looked after in their old age. They try to have as many sons as possible, because they will go out to work and girls are too expensive. I was told that corruption and bribery is considered normal.

So don’t the customers of these awful factories have a duty to check what is going on ?. I mean full time unannounced checking, not just popping over once in a while and having a coffee with the owner. These workers make the clothes and the shoes that they buy, should they be responsible ?

Also, do we as end consumers, also have a duty ? I was talking to a colleague about the fire in Pakistan. I said I was uncomfortable with children going out to work in such dagerous places, when they should be in school. Her view was that these companies are doing people a favour, providing us with cheap and affordable clothing and with the workers, the chance to earn a wage, no matter how meagre, “it is better than nothing” she said

So at what cost ? savings on wages, health and safety, working conditions mean that these companies can be more competitive. Should that mean that people’s lives are at risk just so that we in the West can buy a cheap top ?

Should we be concerned, when we look at that top or bag, do we ask where it came from, and what was the real cost ?

posted over 5 years ago
posts: 1333

This would be a great topic for the Raves and Rants Forum or the Culture Forum. This forum is mostly for advice and relationship stuff.

posted over 5 years ago

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